introduction KÃ˜BENHAVNS INTERNATIONALE TEATER
festival AND laboratory for art and performance in urban space
festival and laboratory for art and performance in urban space
changing metropolis iii
changing metropolis iii 08 introduction Trevor davies
metropolis laboratory - THEORIES & STRATEGIES Cultural planning 20 26 30 34
lia ghilardi This Is Our City: Place-Making Through Cultural Planning dorte skot-hansen The Performative City - between Cultural Policy and Urban Planning Jens Kvorning THE CULTURAL TURN IN URBAN PLANNING franco bianchini Cultural planning and artist-led urban transformations
42 48 52 56 60 66 72 78 84
PETER BISHOP Metropolis: The Temporary City jes vagnby DemocraCity Simone Abram Cultures of planning jesper koefoed COMMUNITIES FOR BETTER CITIES kerstin bergendal the park lek project Interview with Katie Paterson Hella Hernberg Everyman’s City: Engaging people in urban change and development in Helsinki interview with elle-mie ejdrup hansen BUREAU DETOURS Temporary Urban Utopias
Radical Reflections 90 96 102 106 112 118 120 124
nicolas whybrow Complex Coventry: Towards an Urban Sensography Roberta Mock Walking, Writing and Performance: Phil Smith’s Parallel Cities ben parry theses on urban art intervention asbjørn skou An enemy of architecture Christian Nold Designing for the Space of Emotion eystein talleraas Aleppo strikes back! Imanuel SChipper On Public Spheres and Invisible Walls Fanni nánay real anD virtual Walls
metropolis festival - PROJECTS AND ACTIONS Soft Confrontations 134 138 144 152 160 162
Dries Verhoeven Ceci n’est pas… Sofie Henningsen ”Ceci n’est pas...” day 1-10 Sofie Henningsen 100% København - A Micro-Utopian City Experiment Anna de Manincor-Massimo Carozzi-Anna Rispoli Margin notes on Temporary Cities - Six city portraits, nearly seven Emke Idema Rule™ Steen & Hejlesen with Den Sorte Skole I Demokratiets Navn / IN THE NAME OF DEMOCRACY
Landscapes and Artscapes 168 174 178 182
Interview with Julian Maynard Smith Interview with marco canevacci Skræp Radio Free Mermaid bart capelle Landscape, Panorama and Panopticon
Walking and Sensing The City 190 196 200 202 204 206 208 210 212 214
interview with kitt johnson Rita Sebestyén Phoenix by Wunderland: all labels fit, all labels fall down KUMULUS DEAFENING SILENCE LE G. BISTAKI COOPERATZÌA: THE TRAIL LE G. BISTAKI The Baïna Trampa Fritz Fallen glimt empty steps asphalt piloten tape riot Osynliga Teatern Engram KAMCHÀTKA fugit OperaNord & Sifenlv New Media Studio Looking for Courage
Bodies in the City 220 224 226 230
Numen/for use tape karoline h. larsen collective strings Christiane Hütter - Sebastian Quack Site-Specific Game Design as a Public Service drømmebyen i nordhavn
Secretive City 234 236 238 240 242 244
Julian Toldam Juhlin Drengen der aldrig flytter hjemmefra Seimi Nørregaard ARBEJD ARBEJD Fix & Foxy and Teatergrad Et Dukkehjem groupenfonction playground crew c.a.p.e. Interview with Judith Hofland
DOCUMENTATION metropolis laboratories 253 262 269 278
Cecilie Sachs Olsen IN SEARCH FOR WHAT COULD BE PROGRAMME of METROPOLIS laboratory 2012 Kathrine Winkelhorn From cultural planning to artistic interventions and public action PROGRAMME of METROPOLIS laboratory 2014
metropolis festivals 290 PROGRAMME of METROPOLIS festival 2013 294 PROGRAMME of METROPOLIS festival 2015
Dominoes â–Ş Copenhagen Town Hall â–Ş Metropolis 2013
introduction trevor davies Founder and Co-Director, Københavns Internationale Teater, Copenhagen
This is the third of a series of publications covering the project Metropolis, which was launched in 2007. This edition covers the Metropolis Laboratories in 2012 and 2014 as well as the Festivals in 2013 and 2015. The basic concept for Metropolis remains the same as when we started – using the city as context, as a cultural phenomenon, and as a source of inspiration, content and narratives. Our aim is to explore the nature of contemporary performance. This inevitably generates interdisciplinary work, where aspects of visual arts, media, architecture and design meet dance, performance and theatre in a hybrid of formats and genres. Metropolis positions itself in the public space, and it does this for a number of reasons. This obviously includes outreach perspectives to reach and to engage with the whole city and all citizens. The wish to allow for a far freer but also more challenging interpretation of how artists can interact with the city as our common point of departure when little else is “common ground”. Finally, we are attracted to where the imagined, the remembered and the sensed meet with the reality of the everyday, where new interpretations of artistic languages are tested and formed. We have moved on from the first edition of Changing Metropolis with the mantra The city as a stage and the
stage as the city, which explored the phenomenon of cities in themselves becoming performative. The second edition looked in particular at the relationships between the individual and the mass as a clear theme, drawing on theories of walking, exploring and mapping the city.
We start this anthology of articles and interviews with a series around the theme of Cultural Planning. The term has been around for three decades, and the fact that we address this now is that there is a growing appreciation and need of other perceptions of the city. This is partly a reaction against the logistics of modernist thinking and highly bureaucratic structured planning of our cities and urban environments, but also a more fundamental questioning of the values, the character and the nature of our cities. Issues of marginalisation, of cultural diversity, of the need for new models of participatory processes, of multiple identities which can support sub cultures but also threaten cohesion, of conflict resolution, of market led city development, of branding contra identity and so on, demand approaches where artists and the cultural sector can contribute. With a grant from Nordisk Kulturfond in 2014-16, we have embarked on a series of Nordic meetings where these issues are put on the table, and where key theorists and researchers as well as practitioners in local authorities, architects and artists can exchange experience and methods. The first Nordic Urban Lab was held on Refshaleøen in 2014, and the second in Gothenburg in April 2016. However, we would argue that Cultural Planning is far wider than this somewhat dated term and now includes action
based research, temporary installations and artist driven actions, which address issues and situations that are not necessarily part of any planned process or agenda. They are, however, just as relevant in many cases, and there remains a credibility gap between the city as a political entity and the city as a cultural and living entity, which it would make sense to shorten and if possible to eradicate. Metropolis places itself here, in the belief that cities are on-going creative and open processes. The first section Theories and Strategies contains 22 essays and interviews with selected speakers from the two Metropolis Labs in 2012 and 2014. These essays are grouped under four headings, the first of which is cultural planning. Lia Ghilardi starts her article on the background of cultural planning with a quote from Italo Calvino. “The Invisible City, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls”.
She continues, “This quote from Calvino’s “Invisible Cities” has
always fascinated me because I feel it conveys poetically, and yet effectively, the intimate bond between social processes and the spatial form of cities. Cities are a product of time, and time, in turn, is shaped by the people who live there. It is this continuous cultural forming and re-forming of place that is fascinating.”
This very much sets the tone for the anthology. Franco Bianchini speaks of the necessity to rebalance our cities, to accept that we are in an era of activism, and that we must accept that independent actions can be the starting point for public processes. Bianchini, one of the prime movers in the cultural planning philosophy along with Charles Landry and others, underlines the crisis of the European city and the huge pressures which cities are faced with, heightened by the potential migration scenarios. He calls for a renewed perspective and the need to
be far more innovative and radical in supporting alternative notions of place and identity. ”We could learn from the processes of cultural production, which tend to be critical, questioning, challenging and welcoming ‘conflicts and contradictions’ as creative resources. We could learn from processes of artistic work, which tend to be critically aware of history, local distinctiveness and of traditions of creativity and cultural expression. I believe that an important part of artistic/cultural practice is the understanding of urban mindscapes and imaginaries, and that this has to do with the politics of symbolic contestation.”
Dorte Skot-Hansen calls for a more integrated way of policy making, where there is a new ground between cultural policy and cultural planning and advocates a common approach, which reflects the stronger ties. Peter Bishop, former head of Design for The City of London, leads a series of articles under the heading of Radical Reflection, which offer a number of perspectives of the city as a cultural condition. His new book Temporary Cities advocates a far greater understanding and openness of temporary phenomena in cities. “It would be misleading to isolate any single factor as explaining the growth in temporary urbanism. When planners and policy makers start to experiment as well, this could represent a powerful mechanism to re-tune our cities for whatever lies ahead.”
Kerstin Bergendal introduces us to the Park Lek initiative, which has become a key reference as to how artists can work with a community over a period of years to generate a true sense of communal identity, which can be used actively to form the basis of a citizen driven regeneration. Jesper Kofoed also advocates a more bottom-up process in our city visioning in his article Communities for better cities, and Jes Vagnby, the architect of Roskilde Festival’s temporary city, puts forward his Democracity philosophy as a realistic methodology of working extremely concrete and locally with changing the city. Hella Hernberg follows this theme with her Everyman’s City
the playground â–Ş Copenhagen â–Ş Metropolis 2015
article. Based on her experience in Helsinki, where temporary uses of wastelands and unused space has been strategically used in this extremely changing city, Kalasatama Temporary is perhaps a real breakthrough in this field. Hernberg advocates another understanding of the term urban design to adopt a process driven logic.
of Terrain Vague, where “the tactics, method and idea of
In Temporary Urban Utopias, Bureau Detours give examples from their vast back catalogue of events and projects where they “invade” with their urban artivism. They represent a growing breed of artists, architects, designers, urban gardeners and social activists, who are establishing a refreshingly unorthodox urban interventionist practice, which keeps itself out of formal or political arenas whilst lending input in situations, which need either stimuli or moderation. A model perhaps for a new kind of ”cultural institution”, where artists, urbanists and activists start defining a new cultural practice.
In Aleppo strikes back!, Eystein Talleraas from the architecture collective FBB explores the boundaries between private property and the culture of common space in his latest project in A space for disagreement, which manifests as an expanded image of the architect by opening up for debate concerning architecture, democracy and society. “Our projects
Professor Nicolas Whybrow leads the Radical Reflections with an article on Sensing the City, based on a proposal for the city of Coventy “to develop an urban sensography, which will be the first large scale sensographic mapping of a city, where artistic formats will provide methods to find, describe and analyse the morphology of urban space by monitoring the instinctive reactions of the body.”
Roberta Mock’s essay Walking, Writing, Performing on the artistic practice of walking bases this on the work of Phil Smith for whom “mythogeography refers to an ever-evolving
set of performance, performative and critical practices that attempt to transform space by performing it and to develop ways of perceiving and understanding the multiple meanings of any place.”
Starting with the first of 27 sharp pointers, “Artistic creativity
is no longer seen as a formal act but as an intervention into society”, Ben Parry’s Thesis on Urban Arts Intervention goes
further into the need to stimulate and provoke counteractions in the fight for a new urban order. Following this, visual artist Asbjørn Skou declares himself an Enemy of Architecture, and he discusses the phenomenon
working with vague space is ultimately about choosing to see the margins of things as a space with a radical potential for openness. One where the anchorage for our understanding of object, architecture and history is potentially shattered, and new explorations in perspective and meanings become possible”.
emphasise the potency of using architecture as a tool to shed light on subversive, often neglected, social and political topics”.
The second section of the anthology is a series of 27 short descriptions of projects created and presented at Metropolis 2012 and 2014. We have interviewed a number of artists to expand on their practice, in particular where they deal with the key issues and topics featured in the first section. If one should identify some artistic aspects and trends, which are emerging and manifested in Metropolis, there seem to be six clear tendencies; site and situation specificity, where works are created for particular situations; artistic product giving way to artistic process played out in the public realm; the increasing overlapping of fictional with real situations; the engagement of the public as co-creators; the interdisciplinary nature of much of the work, which is expanding the concept of performance, and where the performative is adapted into urban framework. Many projects reflect several of these characteristics. Many of the productions we present have been part of a long-term collaboration with In Situ, European Network for Artistic Creation in Public Space, which numbers 19 European partner organisations. With funding from EU Culture and EU’s Creative Europe programme, it has been possible to invite artists to create specific works, which are both conceived and formed in the city. EU has confirmed the support of In Situ for the period 2017-2021, and this, unprecedented in EU funding, underlines the support for the exploratory nature
of artistic work done in the public space, and also underlines Metropolis’ unique position in a Nordic context as the only producing open platform for this type of work. In the first section, Soft Confrontations, Dries Verhoeven’s Ceci n’est pas… is an obvious starting point as a work which
was seen by tens of thousands in the main pedestrian street in the city. A highly conceptual and provocative work. Dries Verhoeven shows the exceptions to the rule. In a display case, placed in a public city area, he presents people in unfamiliar ways. Some passers-by look away, others stop and watch and wonder why the portrayed image is controversial. Why are certain images tainted, images that twenty years ago could be shown without problems? Have we become less tolerant? Or is it because we have lost our naive political correctness?
Another approach to confronting issues in our cities is taken by Rimini Protokoll in their theatre production 100% København, a docudrama project with 100 citizens as the providers of information but also as performers. The participants were selected demographically to represent all the citizens in Copenhagen. This approach was further developed by Maja Nydal Eriksen, working with the participants in a psychogeographic mapping on the state of the “happiest city in the world”. A key model for participatory work. ZimmerFrei introduces us to the project Temporary Cities, where the company of film and media artists were “in residence” in seven European cities to portray aspects of marginality “on the periphery” in order to observe places in transition, engaging and lead by local residents. The second section Landscape and Artscapes focuses on work, which specifically addresses the topography of the city and the notion of public space, playing with notions of creating another understanding of what space is and how we define it. Originally a visual artist, Julian Maynard Smith created the opening piece Dominoes for Metropolis 2013, installing a line with 7000 breeze blocks though the city. Smith speaks of how this conceptual but also communal act of disturbance of the city creates such an emotional impact with audiences. “For me spaces are essentially fictional. From looking at it, to being part
of it and eventually becoming immersed in it. The language is of space and the ways to occupy it. But there is also the mind behind the language, the thought processes that generate the space, which themselves sometimes become part of the language. Space can be changed almost by thought. Re-engaging people in their own cities. Yes, this is part of the phenomenon. It is just as much a social installation as a physical”.
This forming of imagined space is also the point of departure for architect Marco Canevacci, who created the project Aeropolis for Metropolis 2013. Canevacci creates a more dynamic and fluid spatial topography in the city with his beautiful pneumatic structures, which are both artistic creations but also tools of urban intervention and juxtaposition. Creating an inside/outside and private/public dialogue. “In Berlin in the 90´s, we had the chance to use urban space as we wanted. But nobody knew for how long. Some situations lasted for years, others only a couple of hours, and we accepted those conditions as a base to enjoy the freedom of ephemeral environments”.
Under the title Walking and Sensing the City, we focus on the act of walking, which has once again become a key artistic format. Artists are re-interpreting the format, and certainly, in Metropolis, this has become a key feature of the repertoire. Walking, which may be based on the derive theories of the situationists, but also highly defined and constrained walks which force us to sense the city and understand the city from different standpoints. Asphalt Piloten’s Tape Riot performance walk, where the audience is invited to follow improvised actions through the city, is a perfect example of how to disturb and also create new flows through the city. Choreographer Kitt Johnson’s bodily/physically based work in cities, both as a solo artist or in larger works such as 12 which she created on Refshaleøen in 2015, has developed into a methodology based on mapping. She tries to understand the place and then adapt or insert her work into a dynamic relationship with the “situation”, which is not only the site as such but the socio-cultural reality of the place, where space is also territory in the city that needs to be addressed and understood. Wunderland is a site-specific theatre in the broadest
meaning of the term. From its nature of tackling seriously environmental aesthetics and to its engaging audiences. The audience participates in the experience by actually creating ephemeral art, and the audience is turned into co-creators by a definite gesture from the very beginning – already from having to find the location, the starting point from which we start our own exploration of the place. The audiences are literally on their own.
The third perspective is Bodies in the City. The re-introduction of the notion of play in the urban context is another theme, which many artists take to re-engage people with the city. Direct participation is often a key element of these works. The work of Numen/For Use and Karoline H. Larsen explore the use of everyday materials (in this case household tape and coloured string) as the basis for creating work, which is both organic and participatory. The work of Numen/For Use is a unique cross-over between organic architecture, minimal art and user driven design and performance with strong intellectual and socio-political roots from their specific point of departure. To illustrate this, we include exerts of Ivana Jonke’s article A Dialectal Biography for the Prague Quadrennial of Performance. Invisible Playground from Berlin create site-specific game designs exploring the space between art and urbanism, and their article depicts a situation in the near future, where such Field Office, which they set up in the former meat packing district in Vesterbro during Metropolis 2013, are set up as local facilities in all cities. Christiane Hütt and Sebastian Quack propose that role playing and urban gaming is an accepted practice, supporting communities and stimulating interaction. Under the heading of the Secretive City, we have collected productions, which seek out places that can be adopted or re-appropriated and become mythical. They are often quite extreme and marginal, evoking strong feelings of both anxiety and elation. The performance The Playground by Groupenfonction is a clear example of this type of work. Other artists, such as Julian Toldam Juhlin, the boy who never moves away from home, and Fix & Foxy with their Et Dukkehjem, inserted into a private home for an interpretation of Ibsen’s classic play, are fascinated by the notion of private
spaces and public actions. Finally there is an increasing number of projects where locative media create a new kind of space to explore in the city. Judith Hofland develops projects in public space where technology and the audience play an essential ole. For Metropolis Festival 2013, Judith presented the locative audio/media walk Like Me, where the audiences are given an iPod, headphones and are sent into the city. The spectator is fed information about another spectator on a different route and vice versa, before they in the end meet and walk together. The third section in the publication gives an overview of the activities and the programmes of the Metropolis Laboratories 2012 and 2014 and of Metropolis Festivals 2013 and 2015. Cecilie Sachs Olsen’s article In search of what could be and Kathrine Winkelhorn’s article From cultural planning to artistic interventions and public actions give us a good insight into the overall topics and issues dealt with and also provide us with a number of interesting perspectives, underlining some of the principle features of this on-going artistic exploration into the city. Cecilie Sachs Olsen concludes “Just as there is not any singular definition of authenticity or public space, there is not any singular answer to this question. However, Metropolis Laboratory 2012 shows us that there are alternatives at work, alternatives that provide spaces for negation, experimentation and new openings. Whether it is Invisible Walls or Architecture and Human Rights aiming to create a social and democratic space”. Kathrine Winkelhorn’s conclusion in 2014 was, “The overarching question at the Lab was: how can citizens reclaim the city and in particular the public space. To this question we have had a number of different answers in terms of invigorating projects and speakers but also the notions and concepts from the programme like: pop-up architecture, social sculpture, site-specific performance, temporary urbanism, performative city, experience city, sound walks and soundscapes, cultural acupuncture, the city as a stage and the stage as the city, community creativity, explorative exhibitions, outreach and audience development are all over the place. I see these words not just as nouns but also as catalysers for thinking and acting”.
tape riot â–Ş frederiksberg metro station, Copenhagen â–Ş Metropolis 2015
cultural 100% københavn ▪ the royal theatre, Copenhagen ▪ Metropolis 2013
12 ▪ refshaleøen, Copenhagen ▪ Metropolis 2015
This Is Our City: Place-Making Through Cultural Planning
form of cities. Cities are a product of time, and time, in turn, is shaped by the people who live there. It is this continuous cultural forming and re-forming of place that is fascinating. In The Culture of Cities, the urban historian Louis Mumford wrote:
“The city is a conscious work of art, and it holds within its communal framework many simpler and more personal forms of art. Mind takes form in the city; and in turn, urban forms condition the mind.” 2
Managing Director, Noema Culture And Place Mapping, London
“The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.”1
This quote from Calvino’s Invisible Cities has always fascinated me because I feel it conveys poetically, and yet effectively, the intimate bond between social processes and the spatial
Thus, for Mumford, the city fosters art and at the same time is art; it creates its own theatre in time. Earlier, the Scottish botanist and polymath Patrick Geddes had maintained that what determines the quality of life of a place is the interaction between its spatial form and the culture of the people who live there. This is why planning, according to Geddes, had to be a highly creative activity involving artists, writers, designers, architects and all sorts of skills and disciplines.
The same approach to place-making was espoused by those early 20th century utopians behind the ideal of the Garden City in England. Geddes, however, went further when he saw the chance of redirecting change away from the late Victorian excesses of industrialisation and urbanisation (which he deemed destructive to the individual, to the community and to the human spirit) and towards a new ideal of progress ‘from an individual race for wealth into a social crusade of culture’.3
aspirations… they are seeking, as it were, freedom to become the artist of their own cities portraying on a gigantic canvas the expression of their life.”4
He chose to rise above the discussions about capitalism and its social consequences, and proposed a cultural evolution alternative — an approach to place-making which would result from the interaction of environment, modern knowledge and the historically determined values of the people. Here, people and place, organism and environment, would be brought into a closer and more fruitful relationship, a relationship which would, ultimately, foster citizenship and a better society.
In my work I use a definition of cultural planning as a process, of getting to know a place by grasping its many cultural facets before planning is allowed to intervene.5 The reason why I think this is important is that, today, in most of the West, the transition from heavy industry to post-industrial modes of production and consumption has left little choice to cities large and small but to rely on often formulaic, somewhat short term, models of culture-led urban transformation. During the 1990s in particular, buzz words such as the ‘network society’, the ‘experience economy’, ‘creative cities’ and the ‘creative class’ were used to define new modes of production and consumption within a ‘new economy’, while a new emphasis was put on the interplay between the economy and culture, as well as on creating crossovers between media and the new technologies.
At the turn of the 20th century, town planners turned to Geddes because he seemed to have the answers to the vital urban questions and had, thanks to his botanist skills, developed the tools to investigate closely the social dynamics of place. He offered a holistic approach to the city as a living organism, explaining problems in terms of the process of growth, blossom, decline and decay of natural evolution, and the levels of adaptability of the social organism and human society. Town planning, he maintained, was not simply about ordering the physical environment, but had to be about folkplanning (i.e. people planning). Geddes imagined the task of the newly established discipline of town planning as that of finding the right places for each sort of people, places where communities would be able to flourish and live together in harmony. The way to get there was through survey, and he argued that what was needed was a full appreciation of the cultural, historical and geographical antecedents of a community together with a capacity to enable that community to be fully aware of those antecedents. In 1909, when reviewing the benefits of Geddes’ survey method, British pioneer planner Raymond Unwin observed: “In desiring powers for town planning, our town communities are seeking to be able to express their needs, their life, and their
A century later, radical thinkers, cultural planners, artists, architects and urban designers are still making use of Geddes’ insights, adapting them to the social and economic challenges of city making and urban regeneration today.
However, such processes of mobilising culture for regenerating cities have not been unproblematic. In some cases, the promised investments in (for example) iconic cultural projects have not materialised, or at worst have engendered feelings of exclusion and dislocation among local communities, while in other cases artificially created cultural quarters have ended up by feeding real estate’s hunger for yet more revenue while starving home-grown creatives of those rough-andready spaces that once made that quarter (or city) unique. Such displacement of talent, cultural capital and hopes can spell disaster and decline for some of the more economically vulnerable cities (e.g. the shrinking cities). City making is not just about putting dots on a map, but it’s about making and growing lives, and providing opportunities for increasingly diverse communities to come together and contribute to the public good. Places demand specificity and memorability, and must provide comfort and belonging. A
place that is good to live in is also a good place to visit, and a good location for meaningful employment. What follows then is a need to re-interpret the tasks of city making and cultural planning for the 21st century by focusing on putting people and their relations with space and place first. In essence — and not unlike Geddes a century ago — we need to see cities as ecosystems, each with their own unique texture of interconnected social, cultural, spatial and economic dynamics in a constant state of change. This is why I believe liveable cities cannot be merely the product of top down, expert-led decision-making but, instead, demand processes whereby the local community’s cultural attitudes, habits, needs and desires find common ground for expression and co-creation.
As a holistic method of city making, cultural planning can lead the way towards the creation of more transparent and agile mechanisms of local governance by, for example, testing out collaboration and partnership between different levels of local government, or by establishing mapping initiatives capable of acting as laboratories in real-scale for piloting incremental and adaptable planning frameworks, neighborhood plans, and cultural or tourism strategies. As a cultural planner, my emphasis is above all on the process of mapping, which I see as a methodology for interpreting the city through the lenses of the collective.6 In my view, mapping processes provide ways of publicly articulating diverse perspectives and meanings in a non-hierarchical way so that the result is a shared understanding of what should change in a place, and why — ultimately giving power and legitimacy back to those who live there. In this way, by enabling the distinctive voices of local cultural identities to emerge, and by connecting them to strategic decision-making, cultural mapping provides an opening for social justice. In other words, in an era in which social movements are increasingly shifting the core of collective action from a grand-narrative style of politics typical of the 1960s to the ethics of singleissue politics, mapping imparts a new and more transparent political perspective onto policy making from the start.
In my professional experience, cultural mapping can be instrumental in helping a city whenever it decides to embark on town-centre or neighbourhood regeneration, tourism plans or cultural plans. Through the mapping process time is given at the beginning to design bespoke creative ways of rediscovering the resources, whether physical or human, that are already there, and then to explore new avenues and opportunities for making better use of those resources for the long-term benefit of all. Over the past twenty years I have worked with a variety of cities across Europe and outside, often as part of multidisciplinary teams, on tasks ranging from cultural strategies to masterplans, strategic development frameworks, cultural tourism or branding campaigns. In each of these assignments the application of cultural mapping has been instrumental in generating fresh perspectives on local challenges, and crucially it has brought new stakeholders from a variety of disciplines and professions into the decisionmaking process. In each case the questions we asked were: which is the best way to provide local policy makers, civic leaders, creative practitioners and communities alike with the tools for improving understanding and awareness of their city’s unique creative capacity and potential? What relations can be established between those cultural and creative resources, the people who produce and use them, and place? What kind of holistic solutions can we offer to help these cities to function more cohesively? A recent example of an assignment in which we successfully applied cultural mapping in the context of urban regeneration is in the Swedish city of Helsingborg. Here, in 2009, the municipality launched a design competition for the regeneration of a vast area, which includes the south side of Helsingborg’s harbour and two surrounding, culturally mixed, neighbourhoods (the area is called H+). Here, we proposed to use mapping as a form of Open Source Place-Making. In practice this meant that, as well as working intensely with the architects and designers selected through the competition to grasp the cultural, urban and social texture of the local community, local planning stakeholders benefited from ongoing mentoring by experts from a variety of disciplines and
professions, ranging from the arts and culture to education and learning, community planning and creative thinking. The mapping and mentoring was coordinated by the Liveable City working group which, as well as having representatives
of the local community, included key stakeholders from city departments such as planning, education, culture, transportation, welfare and housing. The group, which met regularly for more than a year, oversaw the mapping process and at each stage brainstormed ideas and, inspired by the evidence gathered through our open source mapping exercises, drafted a five-year action plan for the regeneration of the H+.
Such notion of collaborative place-making was tested again recently, this time at sub-regional level in the Skaraborg subregion of West Sweden. Here we joined a team of urban specialists who had already been engaged to work out proposals for major spatial transformations in two cities: Skövde and Grästorp. In this case (like in many other projects we have worked with) our cultural planning perspective allowed us to focus in the first instance on ‘what is already happening’ underneath the surface rather than on ‘what needs to happen’ (which would be the default position of those policy makers who don’t take the time to understand the context in which they operate). Instead, by encouraging people’s imagination, and by enabling a dialogue across departments, disciplines, professions and communities, we planted the seeds of a more balanced approach to placemaking. In practice we made the case for culture being neither an extra cost nor the cherry on the cake that is put in place only after the main urban elements are deemed satisfactory. We argued instead that cultural initiatives and cultural production facilities are the new raw resources that cities have at their disposal in order to become attractive, resilient and sustainable. We also worked with the planners, and together we prepared a series of strategic documents outlining the fundamentals of holistic masterplanning and regeneration. In these documents we reasoned that planning should be a function of liveability and community building, and that at present too much of
the urban fabric is left to the specialists, or professionals who are set in their views (e.g. when thinking about growth they just want numbers and increase in revenues for their city). We suggested that they should focus instead on the quality of growth by putting people at the centre, and by finding creative ways of harnessing their talent. Finally, when dealing with masterplanning, we suggested that an appreciation of the culture and social dynamics of a place would also help to see uses in a relational way, and not as separate functions within place-making. The examples show us that if we want to be successful in the task of making places that are more humane we need: visionary leadership coupled with a style of governance rooted in community needs and aspirations (the culture of the place); a 360 degree take on how a place works; and an incremental perspective whereby a variety of initiatives in different fields of local development are tested out on a step-by-step basis, so that lessons are continuously learned. I believe that it is only through such open processes of collaborative urbanism that we can kick-start change while taking manageable risks. But it all takes time. It is not a quick fix!
references: 1. I. Calvino (1974) Invisible Cities, Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace, p. 11. 2. L. Mumford (1938) The Culture Of Cities, London: Secker & Warburg, p. 5. 3. P. Geddes (1886) ‘On the Conditions of Progress of the Capitalist and the Labourer’, ‘Claims of Labour’ Lectures, no. 3, Edinburgh: Cooperative Printing, p. 34. 4. R. Unwin (1909) Town Planning in Practice: an introduction to designing cities and suburbs, London: Ernest Benn, p. 9. 5. L. Ghilardi (2001) ‘Cultural Planning and Cultural Diversity’, Differing Diversities: Cultural policy and cultural diversity (ed. T. Bennett), Strasbourg: Council of Europe, p. 125. 6. L. Ghilardi (2001) ‘Cultural Planning and Cultural Diversity’, Differing Diversities: Cultural policy and cultural diversity (ed. T. Bennett), Strasbourg: Council of Europe, p. 125.
COOPERATZÌA: tHE TRAIL ▪ refshaleøen, Copenhagen ▪ Metropolis 2013
The Performative City - between Cultural Policy and Urban Planning Dorte Skot-Hansen Director, Centre of Cultural Policy, Copenhagen
Cities of today are all competing in the global competition, branding themselves as creative cities, eventful cities, experience cities, the most liveable cities etc. Art and culture have become parameters of social and economic change and culture-led regeneration is seen as an integral part of urban planning. Where support of art and cultural institutions earlier was seen as having an intrinsic value, the value of culture is now measured in its capacity to attract tourists, private investments and the creative class to the city. 26
At the same time we have seen a performative turn, challenging the more traditional art forms, and especially the theatre arts. According to the performance study researcher Fischer-Lichte (2008) this change is characterised by: • Blurring boarders between art forms • Events instead of works of art • New relations between art and audience • Theatre as a social event between play and ritual But not only are the forms of the arts contested. Also, the spaces they employ have moved from permanent cultural institutions and stages to new open or found spaces outside their usual boundaries. As such you can say the whole city has become a stage. In this context ‘the performative city’ is defined as a city that is playful, dense, and replete with potentiality. It is characterised by enchanted encounters, unexpected and engaging experiences and spaces where “anything might and even should happen” (Houston, 1994). What is the Performative City? The performative city is characterised by three strategies:
• Re-ritualisation of the city • Re-enchanting public space • Re-thinking the relationship between performance/ audience/place The re-ritualisation of the city can especially be seen in the festival-boom in all major cities to day. Many of these are annual or bi-annual such as Metropolis and each has its own rituals and highlights. At their best, festivals culminate in a ‘festival moment’ which is about “creating a momentum, born
of dramaturgical excellency and high quality content, a powerful experience bring together audience, festival performers and organisers” (Silvanto & Hellman 2005).
The strategy of re-enchanting public space concerns the whole ‘hype’ around creating new urban spaces where people can meet, play and experience diverse encounters. Sennet (2000) uses the term ‘teatro mundi’ for spaces characterised by multifunction, disorder and difference, and as he phrases it “… the more that play between the disorder of public space and conventional behaviour can be exploited and encouraged, the more the public life is enhanced”.
Re-thinking relationships is about re-thinking the complex relationship between the performance, the audience and the place where meanings are made. The Metropolis Festival and Laboratory are examples of all three strategies, but especially the last one when it states that it includes “… artistic adaptations of significant buildings,
squares and roads. These experiences include the staging of everyday life, installations in abandoned buildings, artists working with local groups in creative inner city processes, art experiences in temporary and mobile venues and excursions to the parameters of the city” (Metropolis Lab 2014).
Planning for the performative city The question is whether it is possible to plan for the performative city, and if so, if it is rooted in the field of cultural policy, often operating top-down, or if it is rather to be understood as an aspect of urban planning, growing bottom-up?
Cultural policy, in its more narrow sense, can be characterised as: • Narrow, humanistic definition of culture • Sector-based • Planning for experiences of high artistic quality • Top-down Cultural policy is in this understanding all about content, quality and curating, building on the notion of ensuring an on-going development of the arts and its audience. The curator can be seen as the pivotal role in this process, as a professional who has obtained a sense of quality through education, training and experience within a specific art form. The decisions concerning what to fund are ideally to be taken by independent, expert arms-length committees, but on a local level they are more often influenced by political decisions and interventions. On the other side, urban planning is more and more influenced by the “strategic and integral use of cultural resources in community development” (Mercer, 2002). In planning for the gentrification of former harbour areas, abandoned industrial areas and deprived social and economic quarters of the city, culture becomes a pivotal point. Cultural resources are here seen as means of shaping local identity and engagement. This process is characterised by: • Broad, anthropological definition of culture • Geographical space • Planning for diverse lifestyles and subcultures • Bottom-up
Seen in this light, urban planning is about resources, relevance and relations, building on local cultural resources and artistic endeavours, the cultural preferences of the local inhabitants, and the networks and exchanges between them. Ideally, this process evolves from local initiatives and involvement, but in praxis these processes are ‘speeded up’ by an array of strategies concerning user-involvement, userdriven innovation and co-creation initiated by urban planners themselves. Finding the ‘soft spot’ – Metropolis as an example The planning of the performative city – characterised by enchanted encounters, unexpected and engaging experiences - is happening in between these two ways of looking at artistic production and the meaning of culture (see model below). The interesting question is whether these two viewpoints are opposed or if they actually can complement each other? Is it possible to find a ‘soft spot’, which aspires to the highest level of quality and at the same time includes local artistic and cultural resources? With the Metropolis Festival and Lab (2007-17), Copenhagen International Theatre has left the traditional stage behind to
“venture into the city to create art, vitality … and to challenge the traditional understanding of performing arts and the limitations that follow these definitions”. It has used the city
as a stage and enhanced Copenhagen as a performative city. It has staged performances in found places, developed site specific performances and invited audiences to follow new routes into unknown spaces of the city. Most of all, it has contributed to the city as a ‘teatro mundi’, enlarging the roles people play in public space and drawing our attention to the unknown potential of the city. It has done this by curating the festival every other year to the highest level of quality by using the Lab as an experimental learning zone. And through its extended partnerships and research into the resources of local spaces, it has created encounters of meaning and relevance. In this way, Metropolis is contributing to the ‘soft spot’ for planning the performative city and it is in itself contesting the more ridged boarders between the sectors of cultural policy and urban planning.
COOPERATZÌA: THE TRAIL ▪ refshaleøen, Copenhagen ▪ Metropolis 2013
THE CULTURAL TURN IN URBAN PLANNING Jens Kvorning Professor, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, Copenhagen
The term Cultural Planning is used and defined extremely broadly. Landry makes the following definition: “It is a process
of exploring, discovering and unleashing potential and letting that unfold through a paced and purposeful process where ideas or visions emerge that have cultural power.”
Bianchini has characterised cultural planning as follows: “A fair distribution of economic, social and cultural resources. He further notes that cultural resources are the raw materials of the city and its value base, its assets replacing coal, iron or gold. Creativity is the method of exploiting these resources and helping them to grow.”
Bianchini’s thesis, that cultural planning is linked to a period where culture was attributed a wide role in the logic of societal and urban dynamics, is a key to understanding the status of cultural planning and its role in the context of the wider social debate, and more specifically the debate about the dynamics and the planning of cities. Bianchini’s cultural planning is thus in the first place related to a general acceptance of culture as a leading factor in society. This can be specifically viewed as a symbolic act of protest
and resistance against the Thatcher regime (1980’s in the UK). In the broader context, cultural planning has been used to describe various overlapping approaches: • Planning of cultural activity • Planning cultural infrastructure • Planning of the development of cultural infrastructure as a catalyst for regeneration And as the most ambitious aspect: • A planning which defines its goals and selects its solutions within a stronger element of cultural context and effects compared to the economic or social criteria normally chosen In urban theory we talk about the ”spatial turn” which is happening in urban geography and urban sociology. We could also speak about a “cultural turn” in city planning and planning theory as a new orientation/direction, which gathered momentum during the 1990’s. One often refers in this context to Bilbao in 1997, the year that the opening of Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum happened as the breakthrough of an expanded and successful form of cultural planning. The way the Bilbao project has usually been presented is misleading in fact and without any understanding of the broader urban dynamics involved. The project is seen as a standard model for cultural planning as an example of how a large cultural institution can act as a catalyst for transformation processes and adaptation to post Fordist conditions. I would like to point out that the last 25 years’ conversion/ transformation of Copenhagen is just as relevant an example of cultural planning. I would like to add a couple of
French projects, which I mean can develop and expand our understanding of how cultural planning has developed, what cultural planning can be, and what the term in fact covers. In 1984, Copenhagen launched an architectural competition on ideas for the future use of the harbour. The competition programme was extremely open and there were no requirements as to specific functions or specific density conditions, and the competition could be answered both by details of sub areas or by an integrated plan for the harbour area. The competition was launched at a time when postmodernism and the interest in reconstruction of the European city were high on the architectural agenda and discourse. Many of the entries were in line with these ideals, and solutions were linked to the use of heavy classical architecture, which framed the harbour and linked it to equally monumental urban public spaces. The project which was finally selected was however not such a time specific concept. It had a rather strategic approach. It argued that the problem was how to integrate the specialised and industrial harbour areas in the everyday life of the city. As an effective instrument, this identified a number of large national cultural institutions such as a new national library, a new national theatre and other “heavy” arts institutions. The argument was that they would attract many people to the harbour front, and from these points of gravitation and activity, it would be possible to generate an acquaintance with the harbour and an interest which could then stimulate and support further initiatives. The winner project was never formally adopted, but in practice it has been this strategy, which has been used to revitalise the inner harbour of the city. The first project to be completed was the national library and the black diamond building, as it is now known. It was initiated as part of Copenhagen European Capital of Culture 1996. The building housed functions, which could attract many citizens and visitors: restaurant, concert hall, meeting
rooms, exhibition spaces, bookshops etc. The administrative and internal functions were kept in the old building. The building became an immediate hit with the public and certainly generated heavy pedestrian traffic on a previously barren harbour front. The harbour competition also had another affect; private investors and developers were convinced about the potential of the harbour for development. By 1990, almost all the available development plots were bought. Even though we are talking about commercial activities, these were in fact inspired and motivated by the cultural activities, and they should be thus accepted as part of this “cultural planning” strategy. New typologies of city quarters were in fact designed and formed, often linked to historical/cultural references, and one experimented with various formats in the context of a changing harbour. In 2000, the Danish shipping magnate Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller donated a new opera to the city, located on the harbour front directly opposite of the Royal Palace. The Opera opened in 2005, but this has not had such a positive affect on levels of public activity in the city, primarily due to its position, which was isolated from the existing nodes and channels of movement in the city. However, together with the relocation of key national schools of architecture, film and performing arts, it did expand the mental map of Copenhageners. However, I am sure that this potential will be fulfilled when the final cross-harbour links are in place. In 2008, the new National Theatre opened, and another large cultural institution was positioned on the waterfront – and precisely on the site proposed by the harbour competition. With a generous open foyer and wide public access to the harbour front, this new public space attracted both visitors and activities. Among the projects in the harbour competition was a proposal from The Danish Outdoor Council, that re-creative activities should be located along the harbour front in an urban garden format on both sides of the harbour.
The first harbour swimming pool in the city opened on Islands Brygge in 2003. It was located adjacent to an urban park, which was originally a community initiative taken over by the council. The council also invested massively in clearing up the water in the harbour. The harbour pool and the harbour park are in many ways exactly what was proposed by The Outdoor Council as an alternative design. The fact that this initiative was rejected in the late 80’s as something which was not accepted in the city centre, but was realised some 125 years later, illustrates how the perception of urban public space has completely changed over the past 25 years. Amager Strandpark (Amager Beach Promenade) was opened
conclusion that a project not only has architectural, economic or narrow, functional aspects, but increasingly also includes an evaluation of which social and cultural environments the project can stimulate or support – or which cultural and social transformation processes they can instigate. From this perspective, if such a process is part of the normal political and administrative practice, I think it is reasonable to talk about a “cultural turn” in planning. And a “cultural turn” which is an essential aspect to retain if we want to raise the level of liveability in the city as well as the level of attraction of both tourists and investment in the city and at the same time ensure adequate social spatiality.
in 2000 after many years of discussions and considerations, and it represents a new kind of public space or urban landscape. It has proven to have a huge potential to generate new kinds of activities. The promenade was originally just thought of as a place for beach based activity, but this has expanded immensely and demonstrates how different social, interest and age groups can be involved in a broad pallet of very different activity. This promenade now plays an important role in the life of the city
One can see the same broad considerations used in many urban projects all over Europe. Alexandra Chemetoff’s projects in Nancy and Nantes are key examples of a strategic orientation and a cultural orientation at the same time as part of a planning process. In Chemetoff’s projects, he defines strategic key sites in the urban landscape – places that could have a special role or meaning. This spatial element is described loosely, but always related to the cultural and social effects.
You can also see the transformation of Carlsberg’s former brewery as a project, which – at least in its original form – took its point of departure in an ambition of building up a ‘cultural’ district in the sense of an urban area characterised by an array of different cultural practises and synergies in an overlap between apartments, offices, and learning and cultural institutions. A transformation that would also involve the surrounding neighbourhoods.
This can be an educational institution, which can create a special type of environment, or it can be a large cultural institution, which attracts people form a large hinterland and produces another kind of environment. It could be a park where activity and experience potential include a botanical garden as well as a public park with different patterns of social and cultural uses, and by combing these two different typologies one can create a nodal activity point and space of overlapping social and cultural practices. It could also be a case of a concert hall with rehearsal studios, which could be combined with a hub for entrepreneurial and creative industries, which can produce a special environment.
To what extent can these initiatives be regarded as a movement towards ”cultural planning”? Firstly, we must talk about a learning process, as it is clear that several of these projects have turned out differently to the original plans and they now have a far broader perspective than actually planned. However, Copenhagen has seen a growing number of urban transformation projects with a clear cultural potential and perspective. But this learning process has also lead to the
In this kind of planning rationale and practice, one works with cultural and social environments which can be created and which can be used strategically to initiate urban transformation processes. Cultural planning and strategic planning combined in fact.
kollapsografi â–Ş the royal library, Copenhagen â–Ş Metropolis 2015
Cultural planning and artist-led urban transformations franco bianchini Director, Institute for Research on Culture and the Creative Industries, Hull University
The Current crisis in the European city There are clear indications of a crisis in many European cities. There is a noticeable temptation to embrace populism and the ‘anti-politics’ in a number of European countries. This has taken a further turn in the current context of the refugee crisis and xenophobia.
Since 2009, public expenditure cuts are reducing the already insufficient budgets for economic, social and environmental innovation. This also affects budgets for arts and culture considerably, e.g. in Holland and the UK, where government cuts have been followed by regional and local cuts. At the same time there is an increasingly clearer need for innovation. European cities are, in the view of many, stuck for solutions to their economic, environmental and social problems. This situation is highlighted by the refugee crisis which is in fact a political crisis, where the need for alternative solutions in for example Germany and Sweden becomes clear. Another factor is the increasing power of the elites of the super-rich. We are in some ways going forward to the past, which has been termed neo-feudalism. This growing socio-economic polarisation and inequality is a factor. It is accompanied by the shrinking of the State, in particular the welfare state. This is also reflected in the cultural sector in Europe, and we are increasingly relying on philanthropic solutions, like in Holland where there is a new reliance on private foundations after severe cuts in 2012. This economic downturn is bringing about a crisis of legitimacy of governments, and increased privatisation can
be linked with the declining economic competitiveness of many European countries. So the increased emphasis on finding local solutions also points at this ‘new feudalism’. Another feature evident in Europe is the rise of illegality, corruption and organised crime and the changing mentality undermining morality. This is clear in the rise of new movements in Spain, Greece, Italy, Bulgaria and Romania. The EU has proven to be weak to stem this phenomenon, and there is a growing sense of involvement in corruption on many levels including systemic corruption, which is almost tolerated and blamed on the economic situation and unemployment blocking advancement and progress. In a post ideological society, money equates power, and stealing is almost aligned with political success. The new ideologies of clientism and the distribution of projects, funds, assets and jobs in the public sector in Europe are flourishing. Cloned towns and counter-movements The role of artistic interventions must be seen in relation to processes of economic restructuring in cities (and in the countryside) with migration from the countryside to the cities, increasingly creating regional poverty pockets; the migration of the creative class on a global level; migration within the European Union from primarily new member states, and finally the increasing refugee influx to Europe. There is an increasing erosion of local distinctiveness and the loss of cultural bio-diversity, for example the emergence of what we term ‘cloned towns’. A standardisation of places. Shopping centres are indicative of this and represent a massive change in not only the urban fabric and local distinctiveness, but also changing social habits. The feature of ‘cloned towns’ and ‘Starbucksification’ is creating a culture and geography of blandness, and the throwaway phenomena is creating the disposable city with built-in obsolescence in new public buildings, as Charles Landry points out in The Art of City Making. The Cittaslow movement, initiated in 1999, is the most
obvious reaction in Europe to this trend. In the United States, the Keep Louisville Weird campaign supports exceptions in the city. In the USA, the official ‘localism agenda’ has been started, but this is in fact a toothless practice with no public money to support decentralisation. These responses by no way address the scale of the issues. Artists are, however, often heavily involved in these movements. We need urban plans to protect distinctiveness. Main issues in urban cultural policy today There is an uneasy coexistence of policy aims from different historical periods that can be summarised as: • art for art’s sake: the intrinsic and civilising value and access to culture (1940s-1950s) • the transformative potential of ‘cultural democracy’ and active participation (1970s) • culture as a tool for economic development and place marketing (1980s-1990s) • cultural actions as ways to change the behaviour of individuals and communities (late 1990s-2000s) Today there is first of all a crisis in (public and private) cultural funding, which is generated by focusing funding on consumption activities such as iconic buildings and city centres. Secondly, there is the issue of social exclusion and the importance of access to policies in order to create ‘soft boundaries’ and to stimulate public space networks. Thirdly, the New Economic Foundation highlights the triple factors of ‘credit, energy and climate’, and to address this there must be a renewed focus on production and skills. This has been termed Creative cities for the world by Charles Landry.
making and repairing things. A key word of the present is ‘resilience’, encouraging less materialistic lifestyles. But this is meaningless without the citizen. Transition Towns is an example which argues less travel and relinking the countryside with the city to increase cultural offerings to provincial centres. We must reform urban cultural policies in the context of the economic downturn. In many places there is a decline of community facilities, less funding for culture-led regeneration projects, and a lower priority of artistic and creative practices in schools (e.g. in Finland). Ideological attack on culture We are in some ways experiencing an ideological attack on culture. The centralist/right wing governments are taking culture out of education, thus creating a loss of intellectual confidence in Europe. The former liberal education mantra of STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts and Humanities) is being superseded by STEM (Science, Technology and Mathematics). This new educational mantra is coming from Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Asia. Ideological attack on humanities can be traced in countries such as Poland, Macedonia and also in the UK and Denmark. In the UK, the ‘renewal of the BBC charter’ will underline the concept of public service, and there is an attack on investigatory journalism.
Essentially, we have to get beyond destructive forms of urban competitiveness, which dominate global/urban management. Landry states that we cannot buy the Creative City, e.g. Dubai. Shanghai and many other cities do not take their role in the global situation seriously and are not responsible members of the global community.
Positive signs and opportunities There are, however, some positive factors, which can generate new opportunities in the arts: lower cost of premises for cultural activities; more opportunities for experimental artistic interventions; less bureaucracy and red tape; a more positive attitude to risk; possible new funding partnerships; new participatory and intercultural forms of artistic expression; growing cultural hybridity; new types of cultural institutions beyond divides between culture and commerce, production and promotion.
New priorities should include finding new uses for redundant buildings and sites. This is the reality for many Central and Eastern European cities with a new emphasis on reusing,
Marginalisation in the city and the artistic/cultural response One of the serious trends of the displacement of low income social groups in some cities, particularly in world cities where
public housing is being replaced with housing for the creative class, has instigated a new generation of community artists. One could call this ‘from revolutionaries to trainers’. In order to survive, artists must adapt to skill development. There is an increasingly heavy burden of socially engaged arts groups in deprived neighbourhoods. They are often the only intercultural offering in cities, where there is no presence of the state.
Another question is the challenges to our national and city approaches to manage ethnic diversity, both the ‘corporate multiculturalism’ of the UK, Netherlands and Denmark and ‘civic integration’ in France. There is a search for alternative concepts such as ‘community cohesion’ and ‘interculturalism’. The key point is that these are being attacked as though they have not worked at all. This is not based on analysis, but mainly on a political wish to allow for completely new and radical strategies and legislation. Olivier Roue points out that radicalism of the Muslim youth in France has little to do with Islam, but has more to do with feelings of extreme exclusion and the growth of nihilism. The Intercultural City • There is a debate around the concept of ‘interculturalism’ and its applications. Perhaps we need another term. There is a need to understand what makes a place intercultural. We need to accept that there is a value in conflict, and that it is necessary to construct soft arenas of cultural conflict. • There is a need to understand how immigration can make towns and cities more distinctive, and in this there is a temptation of ‘theming’. We should explore shared histories and heritage and cultivate a ‘cultural literacy’, e.g. with new local glossaries. • There is a challenge to create an intercultural civic identity and culture which involves: creating intercultural architecture and urban design, reshaping collective memory to include ‘the other’, and shaping collective self-image through intercultural public art strategies. These points are taken from The Intercultural City by Phil Wood and Charles Landry, which advocates thinking culturally (and artistically) about urban policy.
Cultural planning as an alternative approach The remote origins of cultural planning can be found in ancient Greece, Rome and the Italian Renaissance, but in our context the theory is based on the revolutionary contribution of Patrick Geddes: botanist, sociologist, biologist and planner. There are three main pointers: • planning is not a physical science but a human science: Folk, Work and Place • survey before plan • the importance of civic renewal Learning from the processes of artistic work and the potential of artistic intervention The power of urban artistic interventions can, according to Phil Wood, take several forms: change the meanings and functions of space; subvert; reveal (one must be able to read the environment and reveal the complexity); take over; reuse and reclaim; contest given identity or non-identity. There are three main approaches to artistic interventions in relation to urban cultural policy and citizenship: • Citizenship as ‘civic identity’. Some work is celebratory and increasingly drives cities to come together in common places. • Citizenship as ‘empowerment’ where artists work with the community or a group of citizens to create a collective work. • Citizenship as ‘consumerism’ with either block buster exhibitions or the re-gentrification of neighbourhoods and the support for an art market, e.g. art galleries in Mayfair. There is to some extent an attempt of revealing and discovering, and not only designing and selling. This is the expression of place identities, which goes beyond product marketing. This highlights complexity and layering in the city, and the logic is more architecture than design and selling. If one looks at key aspects of identity, we might use some selected data from Murray’s research on how people value factors which give their city local character: Local people – friendly: 163 Local people – other references: 5 Local culture – diversity: 157 Local culture – homogeneity: 495 The present: 223
The past/heritage: 1,134 Uniqueness (non-specific): 218 Uniqueness (specific): 61 These findings put into perspective the need to be far more innovative and radical in supporting alternative notions of place and identity. We could learn from the processes of cultural production, which tend to be critical, questioning, challenging and welcoming ‘conflicts and contradictions’ as creative resources – e.g. Cities on the Edge project, Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008, and the projects on the Third Reich legacy, Linz European Capital of Culture 2009. Processes of cultural projects and cultural production to raise difficult questions and to stimulate learning and self-reflection are important to offer cities the opportunity to investigate their hidden, supressed and possible identities. We could learn from processes of artistic work, which tend to be critically aware of history, local distinctiveness and of traditions of creativity and cultural expression. Aspects of this could include documenting local distinctiveness (also through cultural cartography), creating a local ‘image bank’, and drawing inspiration from traditions of creativity and innovation. I believe that an important part of artistic/ cultural practice is the understanding of urban mindscapes and imaginaries, and that this has to do with the politics of symbolic contestation. Cultural mapping The importance of mapping is essential to the notion of cultural investigation. This might cover such topics as entrepreneurial opportunities & desires, not just needs; obstacles & constraints, not just opportunities; power, privilege & disadvantage, how these can be presented; gatekeepers, gateways, networks & collaborations; local talent & creative/innovative milieu; different moral, aesthetic, philosophical, organisational and policy concepts and styles; the importance of making innovative links between different types of cultural resources, e.g. food and crafts, or dance and sport and other formats where people can take part; maps of people.
The concept of the creative city This leads us to the concept of the creative city. Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class (2002) changes the terms of the debate and narrows the ‘creative city’ idea. There is now a stronger focus on creative city strategies as creative industries strategies. In effect, the original conception of the ‘creative city’ becomes more marginal and often misunderstood, and the idea’s radical potential is diluted. UNESCO set up a Creative Cities Network (2004), based more on Florida’s definition than on Landry’s, and the recent emergence of the influential ‘smart city’ concept has furthered this approach. The original concept of the creative city as a grass roots concept and now the ‘special talent’ notion seem to dominate as the defining framework is now economic success. This supports the creative industries and widens the notion of creativity to any sector where innovation can be applied.
Progressive responses to the crisis include: • a growth of ‘festivals of ideas’ • a local public sphere of debate • the emergence of transnational festivals working more progressively • a surge in pop-up, informal, guerrilla demonstration projects, often in derelict buildings and sites, prefiguring alternative futures • an increase in the bottom-up, collaborative cultural planning based on the mapping and analysis of local cultural resources as the opposite of populism. This needs to be supplemented by city and regional level including bottom-up processes and initiatives. • a need to counter the continuing problem of the low political status of culture and culture as a ‘soft option’ for public expenditure cuts • development of new forms of elected urban cultural leadership • an opportunity for new European NGO’s to campaign for investment in urban culture • the need to develop alternatives to the ‘impact’ models, which in general do not work Notes from Bianchini’s presentation at Metropolis Laboratory 2014
institut for (x) â–Ş bureau detours â–Ş aarhus
spectives 12 ▪ refshaleøen, Copenhagen ▪ Metropolis 2015
Metropolis: The Temporary City PETER BISHOP Professor, University College London, The Bartlett School of Architecture, London
The quest for permanence guides many of our choices. We want to achieve ‘lasting results’, or find ‘permanent solutions’, to make ‘continuing commitments’, to invest our savings with permanent investment funds. For most people, the notion of permanence brings a sense of security and a hedge against risk and the winds of change. Meanwhile there is implicit criticism in ‘short-termism’; solutions that are labelled temporary are deemed to be secondary to more permanent visions. However, we deceive ourselves into believing that the world is permanent. In reality, the only certainty is that everything changes. All of life has a cycle of birth, growth, death and decay. The Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman argues that in the last 40 or 50 years we have moved from a phase of what he terms ‘solid’ modernity to a ‘liquid’ phase.1 ‘Solid’ modernity was based on a belief that it was possible to make a ‘fully rational perfect world’. It was only a matter of acquiring enough information, knowledge and technical skills to construct a world that did not require further change. Solid modernity involved removing unknowns and uncertainties through control over nature, and by creating hierarchical bureaucracy, rules and regulations. All of these control mechanisms sought to remove personal insecurities, making the chaotic aspects of human life appear well-ordered and familiar. Strategies such as following precedent and accumulating experience made sense in a world of relatively slow change. Bauman maintains that we have now moved to a phase of ‘liquid’ modernity – a phase that like a liquid, ‘cannot keep its shape for long’. We no longer believe that a state of perfection will ever be achieved: change is here to stay as ‘a permanent condition of human life’. This brings increasing ambivalence and feelings of uncertainty. The global passage from solid to liquid modernity has confronted individuals with a series of new challenges. Social forms and institutions no longer have enough time to solidify and cannot serve as frames
of reference for long-term life plans, so individuals have to find other ways to organise their lives. Instead they have to splice together an unending series of short-term projects that may not add up to the kind of sequence to which concepts like ‘career’ and ‘progress’ can be meaningfully applied. It is a form of ‘Nomadism’ where the individual flows through life like a tourist, changing places, jobs, spouses and values. Liquid modernity is characterised by uncertainty, continuous risk and shifting trust. What is trustworthy today may not be tomorrow. Such fragmented lives require individuals to be flexible and adaptable - to be constantly ready and willing to change tactics at short notice, to abandon commitments and loyalties and to pursue opportunities according to their current availability. We might speculate therefore, that in such a world temporary activities of all kinds could be expected to flourish. We know that the city is never an end-state, but is perpetually evolving. The evidence lies all around us. The historic layers of cities co-exist in a rich mosaic of contrasting architectural styles. Sometimes these historic structures are embedded successfully within the life and function of the modern city; sometimes their outline is written in its present street patterns; and sometimes they seem stranded incongruously in its fabric. This four-dimensional city is the reality, yet much urban thinking and many strategies are still strictly threedimensional. City authorities continue to seek permanent and final solutions and to plan for an end state. Strategic planning processes are increasingly unsuited to the pace of modern urban change and leave areas in a curious limbo. Plans are often outdated before they are even published, while on a day-to-day basis the control of development perpetuates categories of use that are inflexible and unsuited to times of continuous change. Many city authorities in Europe and North America that are charged with the task of encouraging the revitalisation and
redevelopment of urban areas are now finding that, for the most part, they lack the resources, power and control to implement formal masterplans. Instead some are beginning to experiment with looser planning visions and design frameworks, linked to phased packages of smaller, often temporary initiatives, designed to unlock the potential of sites now, rather than in ten years time. Such approaches are finding resonance and support in the emerging practices of some new multi-disciplinary architectural studios in the UK and elsewhere. They are also eliciting an increasingly sympathetic response from land owners and developers. Some are now recognising that their plans need to be more flexible, and that there may be a role for temporary activities or interim phases of development. At the same time, there has been an upsurge of “pop-up” shops, restaurants, theatres. Some are clearly making use of the glut of vacant property, particularly on the high street and the reduced risks that short-term leases offer to new businesses. But there is also a cachet associated with time-limited exclusivity that has consumer appeal. In parallel there appear to be many more temporary “claims” on the city, such as art installations, urban agriculture, sports and recreation activities, from individuals or communities with alternative concepts about ownership and use of space. Many of these “bottom-up” interventions or fleeting re-configurations of space are seemingly spontaneous or arise without consent. Temporary uses flourish both in the in-between spaces where there is flexibility in the rigours of the property market, and in areas where multi-use is feasible. Some uses are planned and formal; some are informal, accidental, spontaneous, or even illegal. Some occur when a city is shrinking, some when it is growing. Some uses last for a night or weekend, some are seasonal, while others may last five years or more. Some are acts of political defiance, while some are government interventions. Given this wide range of characteristics temporary activities need to be defined with care. Hitherto, both theory and practice in urban planning and design have been overwhelmingly concerned with permanence. This raises some interesting questions. Given the overwhelming evidence that cities are a complex overlay of buildings and
activities that are, in one way or another, temporary, why have urbanists been so focused on permanence? What changes in society, culture, technology and the economy are driving temporary urbanism, and its many intriguing manifestations? Do different types of temporary activity have different drivers? Are these drivers themselves transient or might they represent a more enduring influence on the form of cities? Could temporary uses be a manifestation of the emergence of a more dynamic, flexible or adaptive urbanism, where the city is becoming more responsive to new needs, demands and preferences of its users? And if so, do the systems of regulation and planning need to adjust to the requirements and implications of this new fluidity? Can temporary activities be enabled, planned or designed in order to harness their positive characteristics without stifling their creativity? “Temporary” is a difficult concept to pin down. The term denotes a finite period of time with a defined beginning and an end. However, if we take a long enough time period, or for example adopt the perspective of sub-atomic physics or Buddhism, everything is temporary, although it is certainly true that some things last longer than others. A fundamental problem with temporary activity is that it can only be accurately identified in hindsight. There are difficulties in trying to assess contemporaneously a phenomenon whose true context is historic. A use is not temporary until it has proved to be so by disappearing. And by the time an interesting temporary phenomenon reaches our attention it may well no longer be there to be studied. Some researchers have adopted working definitions that take into account the characteristics of temporary uses. However, this approach is difficult to apply to activities that are so diverse.2 It should not be the nature of the use, but rather the intention of the user, developer or planner that the use should be temporary. A temporary land use is an intentional phase. The phase itself may be short or long-lasting, but the time element is merely a unit of measurement. When most buildings are planned or constructed, there may be an implicit understanding that their life will be finite, but there is little or no discussion of their longevity or of any subsequent uses at the time. With temporary land uses, the time-limited nature
temporary activities, uk
of the use is generally explicit. Until recently, temporary activities have attracted little professional interest from architects or planners. Yet, from the travelling fairground to the designer pop-up restaurant such activities have always been a vital part of urban culture. They fill the gaps and enliven the urban experience, and they can bring considerable benefit when sensitively incorporated into urban planning. In “the temporary city”, strategies that recognise the essential transience of urban life can be more effective in an uncertain age. Temporary activities are not new; there have always been gaps and niches in the urban landscape that have been used for the time being for car parking, storage, scrap yards or charity shops. These may be seen as fringe activities, but they are a vital part of the urban economy. The UK and many other places have an honourable tradition of temporary experiments in land use. However in recent years temporary activities have flourished, attracting growing interest as a developing “phenomenon” from academics as well as the media. The suggestion is that temporary activities have an important role to play even in the modern city. In the UK, the national press has featured regular articles on the new wave of “pop-ups” and “meanwhile” activities in the last two or three years.3 For instance, Andy Beckett, writing in The Guardian, notes: “In the crevices the developers have left behind, there is a counter-trend at work. You can see it in the guerrilla gardening movement and the boom in music festivals; in the vogue for temporary “pop-up” shops, restaurants and cinemas in empty urban spaces; in the artists occupying disused high-street stores from Durham to Margate; in the sudden appearance and popularity in London of outdoor ping-pong tables; and in the Edinburgh crowds last summer queuing to see spooky late-night art installations in the city’s usually staid Royal Botanic garden”.4
Many apparently new thoughts and ideas appear to emerge from a variety of seemingly different sources with strange concurrence. The idea that there is a need to pay more attention to temporary activities and phases of development
has similarly arisen from several directions at once. It is, of course, possible that the new wave of temporary activities may just be a passing fashion that will fade away once the novelty value has diminished. But there is also a possibility that it represents a more fundamental shift in the use of land and buildings with deeper implications for urban policy and practice. It would be misleading to isolate any single factor as explaining the growth in temporary urbanism. Temporary activity is an outward manifestation of uncertainty and of many other complex forces present in European and North American cities today. It is not new in itself; what is significant is the range and intensity of such uses today, and the way in which the boundaries between different types of transient use appear to be merging. It is also significant that much of this activity is greeted with evident public delight. Urban planners need to recognise that this enthusiasm is not incidental but represents an appreciation of experimentation and a willingness to see what happens. That is perhaps the spirit of our time. When planners and policy makers start to experiment as well, this could represent a powerful mechanism to re-tune our cities for whatever lies ahead.
references: 1. Z. Bauman, Liquid Modernity, ANSE Conference, 2004 http:// anse.eu/html/history/2004%20Leiden/bauman%20englisch. pdf; Z. Bauman, Liquid Modernity, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2000; Z. Bauman, Liquid Times: Living in an Age of Uncertainty. Cambridge: Polity Press. 2007. See also: http://sociology.leeds. ac.uk/bauman/ (accessed 29 November 2010) 2. H-L. Hentila, and T. Lindborg, Temporary Uses of Central Residual Spaces as Urban Development Catalysts. Paper presented in ERSA Congress, Jyvaskyla 27 – 30.8.2003. http://www-sre. wu-wien.ac.at/ersa/ersaconfs/ersa03/cdrom/papers/242.pdf (accessed 28 September 2010) 3. For example: K. Cochrane, Overnight Success, The Guardian G2, Tuesday 12th October 2010, p6-9; S. Manzoor, ‘Pop-up Culture’, The Guardian, 5 January 2011, p.3. 4. A. Beckett, ‘In the gaps developers left, another world is being built’, The Guardian, Saturday 21 August 2010, p30.
DemocraCity jes vagnby Architect and Founder, Jes Vagnby Arkitektur & Identitet, Copenhagen
”DemocraCity” will eliminate the distance between the city and the citizens, so that the individual citizen can become a co-creator of the city´s social, physical and aesthetic development through direct involvement. Citizens involvement and participation will be the attraction of the city”.
A new form of city formation Over time, there has been a clear shift in the way we use the city and the public space in the city. If we go back to the Greek city, the agora was both at the physical centre and also provided the driver of citizenship and community. The agora was where one traded, engaged in politics and voted on important issues and debated questions of religion, etc.
Today we use the city and the public space in a different way. We have become more separated from the city and within the city. We work and live in different places. We go to school in a third place. We shop in yet another place. We are somewhere else at weekends and on holiday. The consequence is that our daily life is more fragmented than ever and the near becomes divorced and distanced. This leads to a loss of sense of responsibility, engagement, and we loose a sense of community, security, dialogue and trust. The deciding difference between the Greek City State and our contemporary city is that society is not any longer constructed and planned on the basis of consideration of citizens’ social needs. In other words, cities are today planned in relation to how we have to fit into contemporary society in order to ensure effectivity. Cites still have agoras where different interests and perspectives can meet. Yes, the city´s public space is still an open stage with specific spaces defined by their use and by the orientation of users. However, as a starting point, the city is primarily formed on the basis of an economic and functional perspective, where rationality is the basis and where optimal functioning infrastructure and good transport connections to the newly built residential areas and
shopping malls are the main characteristics. The contemporary city is a well-oiled machine where the aesthetic and creative aspects have become permanent, nicely acceptable, individual and foreign. Closeness and nearness is disappearing fast and the transient has become the norm. There is less time for any sense of community. We lose a lot of potential which becomes locked in this situation and which does not become an active in the context of the rationale – nor in the context of the (perhaps) reduced – city. Can we introduce a new and more organic sense of order in the way we think urban development? CITY MAKING AS HETEROTOPIas According to the French philosopher Foucault there are places, landscapes, buildings and open squares, which one cannot find on a map nor in reality. They are utopias in our narratives and in our fantasies. They are places we dream. But there are also “places” which are utopian and real. These are places which exist but which are divorced and distanced from reality. These are non-places – heterotopias – in opposition to reality, because they are not subject to a particular codex, but they exist on another premise than normally. Heterotopias create space for our fantasies, thoughts and dreams, and they construct an opposition to the real reality.
Co-creation in city development It is exactly this experience with Roskilde Festival that the notion of DemocraCity is built on, where we work with urban development as a heterotopia, where the social and mental part of city development is just as relevant as the physical part. If we look at how urban development projects are initiated today, it is extremely technical. The Master Plan is regarded as a final result, and the involving of stakeholders is more formal than real. In contrast to this, DemocraCity starts with the process of creating/developing the city – in residential areas, the neigbourhoods, in the city centre – as a skeleton only, which should be animated by processes of engagement. Local actors and citizens take part to define, develop and set out the agenda with some common goals, where there is both time for analysis and testing. This approach builds on the premise that the local participants have a unique knowledge base. This can both activate and support the mapping and the understanding of complex situations and questions that the architecture is trying to both encompass and solve. At the same time, it is a way to ensure co-ownership and backing to the visions and proposals for the urban space. One must never compromise with regards to quality, however, which is one of the architect’s major roles in this approach.
A neighbourhood , which is completely regenerated, suddenly becomes a non-place, which is real and thus “another place”. A new form of cohesion is created in a known space and in a known place in the city. The City Roskilde Festival is a concept/ idea, which has become real, and also a non-place as it invites us into “another reality”. Looking at Roskilde Festival as a successful Laboratory where we deliver experience(s), which we can transfer to the “real reality”, we can learn many things relevant of the physical planning of the festival.
The reward of successful user involvement can be seen from many different parameters. Partly it can legitimate the investment in a project, it can be preventative in relation to potential conflict situations, it can create a stronger sense of identity and relationship to a place, it can modernise and democratise the process, and finally it can create a network and create a sense of trust and social cohesion.
In 2008, the whole camping area for 80,000 temporary citizens was formed as a circular structure that introduced a new “order” and defined more communities as an overall organic plane with a central agora as a natural meeting place.
Every quarter or neighbourhood can be activated to develop a whole new narrative and sense of local self-awareness. Working practically with new urban spaces and community actions, one cannot help but getting to know each other. Therefore, DemocraCity is also a constructive way to work with social cohesion. Collaboration levels both social, ethnic
and income divisions. Creating something together generates security, addresses loneliness and gives an increased sense of responsibility. Everyone thrives when they are met with trust and when they are able to play an active role together with others. Perhaps it cannot be seen on the financial accounts of the local authority or of the housing association, immediately, but in the long term there are definitely benefits which can support a more sustainable neighbourhood.
Mental, Social and Physical Urbanism DemocraCity is a process, an enzyme, which creates space between people and thus affects the city´s consciousness. A consciousness regarding the possibility of the changing city. This gives citizens the possibility and the tool kit to play a more actives role and to become part of a creative process to initiate changes in the local neighbourhood. A DemocraCity process should from the outset have the aim to build local engagement, initiative and drive, so that processes alter from being primarily external to being driven by local innovative processes. We must aim to support individuals willingness and wish to engage with each other and to participate. In order to form a sense of common identity and to increase social cohesion in the city, DemocraCity works with three basic elements: mental, social and physical urban development. Mental urban development is about creating an understanding of the identity of the city/place, of the values of the place and of the narratives of the place. Has the city/town its own, clear identity? Which traditions does the city/town have? Does the urban space stimulate the senses and movement? Are there events and activities in the public space and is there something which citizens can all be part of? Social urban development is about the people in the city: residents, actors, stakeholders and networks. How diverse is the population? What is the level of density of residential areas? Who are the key initiators in the community? Who is invisible in the public space? Are there meeting places and for whom and do they in fact prevent loneliness? Does it feel safe to move around the city/town at all times of the day and night?
Physical urban development is about the city’s architecture and structure. Is the city’s framework planned to support the meeting, the sense of togetherness and dialogue between citizens? Are all age groups and ethnic and sexual groups included in this? Are the city’s spaces large and formal or intimate and friendly? Via processes of co-creation, we involve citizens to identify, understand and solve challenges and also possibilities in their local neighbourhoods. Citizens’ engagement and participation become facets of the city and this also increases the neighbourhood’s cohesion. The process ensures that the local citizens know and understand their area. Not in the sense of ethnically defined ownership, but in the term of citizens ownership which potentially can support an overlapping identity pattern across formal groups and age groups. A strong sense of citizenship can certainly be preventative in the process of association and integration in neighbourhoods. Engagement creates a sense of common ownership. This is a key element of DemocraCity’s work. The more who participate, the more positive the response when the project is complete. Furthermore, the more one participates, the more one is satisfied with the results. The more one has been involved to create the mental, social and physical spaces, the more one is likely to use them and to take care of them. In DemocraCity, we are interested to support an approach where urban development/place making is based on involvement and cocreation. We approach urban development as a new way of being together. A kind of new form for urban society, where we challenge our homogeneous culture, which is primarily steered by traditions, rationality and norms. Where we give each other space and time to think up and formulate new ideas and concepts and where we can be in a meaningful dialogue. With heterotopias and with the agora as inspiration and reference, we can create intense cities based on communality.
camping area, roskilde festival
Cultures of planning
We can argue that there are three central debates about culture in the contemporary West, or at least three roots of the idea of culture:
1: a German tradition, adopted by Matthew Arnold, of culture as the refined arts, the cultivation of civilized appreciation, in short, the idea of the Arts. This is a culture found in the Opera House, in the Concert Hall, the Art Gallery, the sculpture park or the sculptured landscape. We know where to find this kind of culture as it comes with a capital A.
Reader, University of Durham and Leeds Universities
Metropolis asks us to “take a long hard look at how arts, cultural approach is engaging in our towns and cities and how it is in fact managing to change our view of the city and create a more open, more innovative, more authentic, and more human city – for everyone.” I want to argue for the end of culture. At least, the idea of culture as we talk about it and think about it today. Actually I believe it’s time to abandon the idea of culture and cultural planning. 52
Arthur Quiller Couch advised provocatively in 1916 that style is not the same as ornament. When writing, he said, “Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.” (1916:XII/6)
In starting the idea of ‘killing your darlings’, he encouraged us to challenge our most tempting pretentions, and like an anthropologist he asks us to question our core assumptions. Here in Denmark it should not be difficult to argue that decoration is not the same as design. A clunky object is still clunky if it’s a nice colour, and a building that is unpleasant to be in or presents an obstacle in the urban landscape can be as beautiful as you like, but it will never be a happy design. In the same way, I argue that adding culture to urban planning is not good planning. If we see cultural planning as separate from planning, then we are not planning well. But if we think culture is separate from urbanism, what does it mean to talk of culture?
This is an art that is cosmopolitan, global. It is an international language of refined form and representation, a set of traditions that respond to and comment on the conditions of humanity with the self-conscious intention of creating something outside of the mundane or habitual. True, from here it spills out into the everyday and the socialist argument held that art should be for the people, not just for the elite, hence Art is everywhere, but everywhere it is Art. 2: A French tradition that is articulated in the beginnings of sociology by Emile Durkheim. The French version of culture has the world populated by different social groupings – civilizations in the plural. We could say it’s culture as society – trying to understand misunderstandings, to discover the different cultural attributes of different societies, to see the world as a patchwork of social patterns, that we can observe, decode, and to some extent explain. True, again the French revolutionary movement opened the aristocratic arts to the people – invading the palace grounds, and then in the C20th through the work of Georges Henri Riviere and the establishment of the ecomuseum (inspired, of course, by Skansen), it became possible to exhibit cultures that everybody had. It leads us to ideas about what Fredrik Barth called Ethnic Groups and Boundaries, focusing on the ways that people
define themselves in opposition to others, or what are now called “Others”. Planners struggle to accommodate people
with different culture, while rarely recognising that they, themselves, have a culture of imagining others. Commonly in planning, we see the idea of ‘culture’ being used as a leftover category, a way of explaining everything that planning rationalities cannot explain. We say that people don’t behave in the way that we anticipate because it’s their culture, or that we cannot plan for people’s irrationalities because they are in the domain of culture. Culture becomes a kind of magical thinking – in Leach’s terms – since magic (and/or witchcraft) provide the explanation for anything we cannot otherwise explain. 3: Then along comes Bourdieu who offers an economic theory of culture, perhaps the biggest trap for planners. This idea of culture as capital makes culture something that can be owned, exchanged, operated on, grown – indeed cultivated. And for many planners, the idea that culture can be reintegrated into an overall economic model of society is a delight, a real relief – finally we can incorporate culture into the way planning makes sense of the world, as a quantity that can be measured, benchmarked, evaluated. Yet our aim here is to find out why the arts and culture are so difficult to embed in planning, and I believe we are ready to discover why. In each of these approaches, culture and art are seen as a category apart. We work to integrate them into urban planning, but even in doing this we are purifying these two categories in order to then re-hybridise them. The Anthropology of Art does the same thing in a way – it treats Art as a separate realm to which anthropology can be applied. Yet if we take a look at the central examples addressed in the anthropology of art, it is revealing. a) Alfred Gell’s landmark book Art and Agency considers Trobriand canoe-prows (1998: 69-70). These canoe prows are psychological weapons, they are the first thing that exchange partners see when a visiting flotilla arrives on an island and they effectively demoralise the hosts before any exchange process begins. Danish friends will recognise the tactic from the prows of Viking ships, which would terrify any potential friend or foe with their flamboyant features and rearing
dragons. The art in these canoes is not an optional decoration to make them look pretty – no, they are essential for the ship to do its work, they are intrinsic to the purpose and use of the vehicle. b) Howard Morphy’s extensive writings on aboriginal painting shows how designs navigate both routes and relations through land and time. Yolngu drawing that has become identified as art derives from traditions of land-inhabitation that employ narrative journeys. Paintings situate the person and the collective in relation to other beings, including historical and mythical beings, and contemporary neighbours and relations. Contemporary Yolngu artists have been creative in staking out a place in international art markets not least because they are able to be politically canny, but it is when artworks are transferred from rock, bark and sand onto canvas and board to be hung on walls, that they are reduced to art. Until then they are important social and cultural practices that define the world. In these examples, life is art; we can see that humans are aesthetic animals, but that art is not merely aesthetics, it is what makes us human. To conceptualize life without art is to imagine that human life is possible without sensory experience. Myths about ‘basic needs’ have certainly surely us astray. Maslow and his bizarre hierarchy is surely a myth of modernity that we are ready to disavow. Let me give an example of how wrong it is to think that food, water, air and sleep are more important than art: Alice Herz-Sommer survived two years in Theresienstadt concentration camp on two bowls of watery soup and a lump of bread a day. What kept her alive was the music. According to her, music was ‘like a spell’, and she survived with optimism and discipline. Daily practice of the piano, and absorption in the music compensated for the lack of food and sleep, of fresh air and of freedom. Art is a basic human need, just as social contact and emotional support are basic needs. So if culture – in any of its definitions – is intrinsic to human life, why are we continuously struggling to integrate cultural approaches into urbanism? I would argue it is because urbanism is continuously separating it out – not resisting
integration nor ignoring the arts but actively defining arts and culture out of urban planning: adding art on as decoration, putting culture into the mix, trying to include members of the public in planning processes (a ‘public’ defined, of course, as non-expert). For years we have been purifying urban government into the execution of economics and then spatialising our economic ambitions, and we are surprised that it has no place for arts or culture.
Where in the Modern world are art and cultures intrinsic to urban development if it is not in Copenhagen? Danish design is built on the philosophy of form meeting function, and of elegant simplicity as the solution to development problems. So perhaps in Copenhagen we can find a way forward for Nordic human cities. We could start by not defining the human out of plans, or defining culture out of planning.
Simone presented an example of integrated development in the rescue and reinvention of a Victorian school in Sheffield. Further details at http://www.sumstudios.co.uk - you might want to look at the ‘vision’, ‘history’ and ‘the trust’ under the ‘about’ menu – and see the before and after pictures in the gallery. See also http://www.heeleypark.org for the Trust’s other main project, now about to reinvent urban park management through a collaborative subscription scheme. References: 1. Abram, Simone. 2011. Culture and Planning. Aldershot: Ashgate. http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409435068 2. Gell, Alfred. 1998. Art and Agency. 3. Maslow, A.H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370–96. 4. Morphy, H 2011, ‘’Not Just Pretty Pictures’: Relative Autonomy and the Articulations of Yolngu Art in its Contexts’, in V. Stang and M. Busse (ed.), Ownership and Appropriation, Berg Publishers, Oxford, pp. 261-286. 5. Quiller-Couch, Sir Arthur (1863–1944). 1916. On the Art of Writing. Ch. XII ‘On Style’ p6. http://www.bartleby.
dominoes ▪ copenhagen ▪ metropolis 2013
So, in brief, if you ever feel that you must add a chapter on art and culture to a plan, then write it with all your aspirations included and then delete it and start rewriting the plan from the beginning: kill your darlings.
hamburg â–Ş citylink festival 2013
COMMUNITIES FOR BETTER CITIES jesper koefoed CEO and Co-Founder, Givrum, Copenhagen
In a world characterised as a time of rupture, where people are forced to relocate, social structures are changing and political extremes are growing throughout Europe, it is more important than ever to connect people, help them to see others not as strangers but as inspiring people with whom they can exchange and share perceptions. Our project City Link is an attempt at achieving exactly this, and it is one of many such initiatives.
City Link connects people through arts and culture. Each year, City Link travels to a new city and celebrates this with a festival. City Link creates an annual platform of symposia, workshops, exhibitions, performances, bike tours, city walks, communal dinners, movie screenings and pop-up concerts, where people can meet each other, share perspectives and exchange ideas on how we can make better and more democratic cities. The festival connects communities across disciplines and borders integrating culture and urban life in a celebratory event accessible to all. In 2016, Istanbul will be the next city to join the City Link community, hosting the festival from 22-25 September. This is the third festival, following Hamburg in 2014 and Edinburgh in 2015.
“Here the people make their own programme and I think this is an energy that is ... profitable for the cities and the regions, because it’s real, it can change something in one’s identity: To recognise other people from another city, from another region.”
CREATING BETTER CITIES Every year we emerge in a different city where the new context forms the festival and demands approaches and solutions to relevant and current themes of the urban realm - locally and globally.
(Ruth Bässler, Hamburg Municipality 2014)
The common denominator of these cities is that they are all melting pots of social encounters. Citizens have space in common, but a variety of interests and lifestyles, underlining that they (can tend to) become more individualised and differentiated, which is one of the well-known assumptions of the metropolis in our time.
Hamburg municipality’s Project Responsible for International Exchange, Ruth Bässler, sees value in allocating responsibility when it comes to realising the project. She sees that this benefits not only cultural entrepreneurs, but also positively affects the identity of the cities and the region, which both builds and stimulates a feeling of trust and freedom.
The challenge of cities is to generate effective personal encounters and strengthen urban social cohesion. In our perspective, communities are crucial in the way they play an important part in enhancing the quality and sense of being together, developing our attachment to both place and to each other across divisions of age, culture, etc. Through trustbased relations, “the other” ceases being the (unpleasant) stranger, and instead becomes a person that one can draw and rely on.
By generating a space of possibility for the project, the cities transferred their usual role of decision making to the project participants, who carried out the first City Link Festival in September 2014 in Hamburg.
A CO-CREATED FESTIVAL In the past decades the general assumption is that there is an increased popular distrust towards political systems, as well as increasing distrust among people and peers. To create trustworthy relationships requires patience and time. This also applied to the development of the City Link festival, concept and organisation. It developed as a result of meetings between cultural communities travelling between Hamburg and Copenhagen in 2012/2013, trying to communicate and understand each other’s various ways of thinking, perspectives and points of view. The cities of Hamburg and Copenhagen supported City Link, also with funding, so the network was able to focus on its social structures and proactively construct a meaningful context for the participants to share their ideas and develop sustainable democratic solutions for the cities. In other words, the municipalities offered the project freedom and responsibility.
During ten days of symposia, art exhibitions, workshops, concerts, city walks and performances, officials, activists, artists, urban planners and citizens participated in the discussion on cities, sustainability and culture. The Cultural Senator of Hamburg opened the festival, and the event kick-started future collaborations between sectors and professions. A large group of actors from different cultural and geographical backgrounds contributed to the festival programme and a new community was born. A community that in the following year brought its energy to the city of Edinburgh. OPENING HIDDEN DOORS On the opening night of the City Link Festival Edinburgh, Scottish journalist Lesley Riddoch chaired a debate on the democratic renewal of cities. One of the questions she took from the packed room came from a volunteer working on a local project called Hidden Doors, who talked about the work they were doing in Edinburgh activating abandoned spaces for cultural means. The project, she said, was run entirely by committed volunteers, but with no council support and no way of getting their voice heard, they were in danger of collapse. Within moments Lesley had found a representative
of the council in attendance and, right there on stage, got them to commit to meeting with the Hidden Doors project to secure its future. It was one single connection in a weekend that was full of such moments, but it epitomised what City Link is all about: bringing like-minded people together and making things happen. The City Link initiative and its ideals really resonated with a new cultural momentum in Scotland. The first study trip to the city was just after the Scottish independence referendum at the end of 2014 and in spite of the no vote, people were motivated to make change in their country - politically, economically, socially and culturally. In Edinburgh, an emerging movement of grassroots creative initiatives were forging a new cultural identity for their city. These groups recognised the importance of questioning the top down processes that were driving development - getting local people involved and working with each other to improve the way they live in their city. 58
The festival gave a platform for them to connect, share their experiences, strengthen their work and ultimately influence political processes. INCLUSIVE CITIES All the stories of projects and connections were made possible by the City Link network, and now the community is expanding to Istanbul hosting the festival in 2016. Cultural, social and political diversity is characterised between different countries, but also within the cities. Istanbul is known for its geographical location divided between the continents of Asia and Europe by the Bosporus strait, and the massive scale of the 16 million people metropolis is the setting for this year’s festival. City Link Festival in Istanbul will explore ways of forming communities and the impact of sociability - defined by Georg Simmel as “the pleasurable, joyful and delightful experience that comes out of people’s interaction in society” - on making better and more inclusive cities through discussions on how
we create a common space, language and get together in local community and cultural initiatives for the benefit of the local and global society. INFO-BOX: CITY LINK BACKGROUND City Link is a growing community of artists, cultural entrepreneurs, policy makers, architects, students, planners, researchers, creative entrepreneurs and citizens who are engaged in transformation of their cities. A community that each year expands its network with a new city hosting the annual festival. The City Link festival is initiated by GivRum, a Copenhagen non-profit organisation working with democratic urban development. Through their extensive knowledge about citizen-participatory processes they have created social community life in empty buildings and public spaces, and facilitated and initiated symposia, festivals and conferences - putting innovative ways of developing social coherence and urban areas on the agenda. GivRum works as an intermediary between citizens, professionals and officials fostering spaces for more creative, sustainable and socially inclusive cities. City Link began in 2012 as a co-creation project between cultural communities in Copenhagen and Hamburg. The project was supported by the City councils of Copenhagen and Hamburg. Until 2014 the network primarily consisted of people from Hamburg and Copenhagen, but the first City Link Festival in Hamburg in September 2014 kick-started City Link as a global network connecting people, projects and communities throughout the world. The City Link initiative is now being promoted as a model for best practice for international cultural exchange and has catalysed new cultural initiatives in Hamburg and between the cities. In September 2015, Edinburgh hosted the City Link Festival - a 4 days programme of cultural events across the city attended by 1300 people from 7 different countries and co-created by 130 contributors. The festival was nominated for Creative Edinburgh’s City Award for the promotion of Edinburgh internationally and the use of city space and cultural ideas specific to the city.
hamburg â–Ş citylink festival 2013
the park lek project kerstin bergendal Visual Artist, Copenhagen
Marabouparken konsthall is located in Sundbyberg just outside Stockholm. For the inaugural group exhibition Parkliv (Park
Life) in 2010, I was invited to consider the Park Lek as my point of departure. I decided to appropriate the basic organisational structures of this tiny and flexible park playground, which from around 1960 to 1990 enabled free and informal social contact between locals and was almost obligatory in many Swedish parks. For me, as an artist, this tiny organisational structure creates an interesting operative space for artists, outside of the art institution. The vague territory; the long term, but not permanent. The state of exception, but as a premise. Intervention, but just by being there for a while.
The first phase of PARK LEK (park play) was a series of dialogues with a growing group of municipal civil servants as participants. I enquired into how the city regarded its parks. Were they used and if so, by whom and how? A major part of Sundbyberg consists of green areas. The northern part is a nature reserve, and many of the urban areas are embedded in and interconnected by green areas. These green areas were however not consciously used at
all, but were left for leisure and exercise. For many locals, the green areas were also seen as a neutral void, separating the individual urban neighbourhoods. Although one of the smallest municipalities in Sweden, Sundbyberg is also one of the most socially divided. As green areas become valuable assets, Sundbyberg´s budget was based on the sale of green areas for new housing. In 2004, six of Sweden’s most prominent property developers were allocated an area for 1200 new apartments without any local democratic process. A specific part of the agreement was a densification scheme for approximately 1000 new apartments on the hillsides Lötsjön. This is the “central park” of the city, which also physically connects five different urban areas of the city. It is this green infrastructure that makes Sundbyberg a walkable town. If the densification scheme would be realised as planned, this infrastructure would be clogged up. The plans moved into the standard consultation procedure within weeks. The hearing procedure offered me a possible platform of intervention, and I formally proposed to the municipality of Sundbyberg that PARK LEK, as a part of my residency at Marabouparken konsthall, would act as a fictitious, but parallel public consultation. This was approved in December 2010, and a second phase of PARK LEK was initiated in 2011. A standard public consultation, procedure consists of two public meetings, advertised at the local library or on page four in the local paper. A “normal” consultation, gathers about 25 people. Planners and developers also attend, explaining to the
park lek â–Ş marabouparken konsthall â–Ş 2012
public the basic features of a proposed plan. Subsequently the public has some weeks to submit written statements about the proposal. This procedure implies a clear division of roles. Locals are invited to react to a completed scheme, not to participate in qualifying it. But the way you ask defines the range of possible responses. The public consultation procedure of PARK LEK was characterised by an extended investment of time. I lived in the neigbourhood for about nine months. Via posters in all residence buildings, at bus stops, schools and senior centres, residents were given the opportunity to invite me over for a half-hour talk and to describe the areas as seen from their windows. With my video-camera, I met them and also documented their point of view and their knowledge. Participants were given a button badge PARK LEK - I joined. I returned after some time with an edited video, mediating their focus and their concerns. Approved by them, it was published on YouTube. 62
My visits and films were received respectfully. More than 150 people participated, and in May 2012 I had published 43 videos on YouTube – introducing the tobacconist, the day-care lady, the barber, the security guard in the shopping centre, local football players, a librarian or young children. A majority of these had formerly never claimed an interest in participating in municipal hearing, as they did not perceive themselves to be qualified – or even invited. Instead of commenting “future scenarios”, participants focussed on the local needs today. Thus, they expanded the area of attention beyond that of the defined planning “area”. In this way they also challenged the very idea of the limited plan-area as a tool for hearing procedures. We learned about the process of transforming social housing apartments into private housing cooperatives, the open and harsh conflicts between residents in the stairways of the residential blocks. We heard about the sudden closure and later sale of a beloved school, something so deeply humiliating that the young people had felt a need to protest through vandalism and riots. We also heard of possible solutions for
existing problems: How the reinstatement of a midwife at the day-care institutions could help break isolation of immigrant women in the area; how a formalised collaboration between the municipality and local parents would counteract young people being involved in the local hash trade. When published on YouTube, the videos generated a very intense, local public debate. Seeing themselves speaking on a TV screen about problems in the neighbourhood was overwhelming to many. Seeing one’s neighbour, whom one might never have noticed, doing the same was just as challenging. Having to share the right to define the area with persons with whom you might not agree at all is provoking. Eighty percent of the population of Hallonbergen has an immigrant background. The neighbouring urban area, Ör, has a corresponding majority of elderly Swedish citizens. The PARK LEK discussion was in fact one of the very few occasions, where people from the two neighbourhoods had had any direct interaction with each other. I received requests from the participants for a direct collective discussion about the proposed plan. I set up a four-day open discussion process. The property developers, by now understanding that the debate had changed their situation, chose to provide us with funding for a large scale architectural model, which gave participants a tool to work with when visualising their view of the future of the area. Each group of participants was also allocated their own architect, landscaper and planner to assist in formulating and translating their ideas, giving their responses the same “authority” as the developers’ plans. The dialogues became candid exchanges of concerns, and I mediated this exchange. After four days of discussions, leading planners, social housing company directors and developers also came over to take part. The combined and adversary positions, the different types of knowledge and ideas, turned PARK LEK into a hybrid space of open conflict and negotiation. The result of these sessions was subsequently translated into a first draft of a more viable development strategy for the
area, based on the participants re-imagining of the location of the main road. At present, this road passes right between the two urban areas separating them. We proposed to move the road and curve it so it would go directly through the Hallonbergen Centre, thus making access roads obsolete. Creating space for housing but also maintaining the green areas. Both neighbourhoods would then be part of the city fabric. However, we consciously never presented a complete plan, but a viable urban strategy, offering proof to the municipality of the possibility to find an alternative solution. The project, model and the films were presented as part of the exhibition Hembyg(g)d, (Homeland/ Homebuilt) at the Marabouparken konsthall in September 2012. At the exhibition I staged a mock-up of a typical living room setting with a TV showing the participants’ videos and also borrowed objects and images from different participants as a reference to this local knowledge. Just outside the mockup, the large landscape model stood dressed with the PARK LEK counter-strategy, formally challenging the concept of the developers. The plan was accepted by the municipality as a part of the real public consultation in May 2012. Later the same year, the City Council of Sundbyberg also took an unexpected decision. I was invited to start a third phase of the PARK LEK to develop the “counter plan” and to re-assess. Was the proposal really a good idea? What would it cost? What changes were required? Who would be affected? Were there doubts to be considered?
project secretariat with municipal planners Helena Dunberg, Lisa Brattström, lead by Åsa Steen, was “inserted into the art project”, still led by me. This secretariat was to “outgrow” the art project within one and a half year. This is also why I gave this third phase the title PARK LEK PARLIAMENT. A vacant corner of the local shopping mall in Hallonbergen became our new working space. It was already owned by the residents themselves as an informal (read: free of charge) meeting point for football players, refugee politicians and religious groups, all of whom met here every day. In collaboration with the design architect Tove Sjöberg, this corner was reshaped and painted in the signature colours of the local subway station – two shades of powder pink. It became known as Rosa Rummet, a space for public consultations, meetings, focus groups and meetings with city officials, who worked on local issues in the two neighbourhoods. There were three weekly dialogue sessions held in the first eight months. We never tried to force consensus. Instead a tentatively established local reference group, Hallonbergen Ör Gruppen, comprised of a mix of landlords, tenants and youths from Hallonbergen and Ör, were asked to act as “elders”. To be guides for and critics of all proposals and conclusions generated by the process. Any final decision and formal responsibility was always left to the politicians. In the end, however, this lack of power turned out to be a strain for some of the participants of this group of “elders”. A few of them withdrew into their own group, fiercely advocating for their own version of a counter plan.
The intention was not, however, to merge the art project into the planning. Instead it was to open up a direct contact between the participants and the actual planners, thereby also ensuring the insertion of local memories, history and priorities into a future real plan. Another intention was to transfer the experiences and the methods of the art project into the subsequent process of real decision-making and the real planning.
Rosa Rummet ended up playing a key role in a major local transitional process. It could not physically be closed, since it lacked walls. Everything happening here remained transparent both for those who wanted to actively participate and for those who wanted to stand by and just watch. A particular, non-planned form of conversation was cultivated in this space. Formal municipal meeting routines were not valid, and traditional power hierarchies, agencies and roles did not apply or merely collapsed in this space.
I agreed to stay with the project for another 18 months. This phase became a formal collaboration with the city planners. A
Rosa Rummet also constantly changed physically. Yellow rubber curtains hung from rails in the ceiling acted as moving
walls. Images, documenting activities in Rosa Rummet, were posted on top of each other on the wall – like moss. New videos appeared and disappeared in displays. Models in glass boxes came and went. For those who chose not to participate in the actual dialogues, there was always a reason to pass by and botanise among the results of the process.
memories, relationships and events. The map also indicates a future as new residential areas, identified during the process by a majority of participants, are also marked on this map. Today the municipality uses it in their first-hand contact with developers and architects. In fact, the current re-planning of the areas is also formally based on this map.
Meanwhile, Rosa Rummet never ceased to function as a café and meeting spot for the local residents. All our activities were carried out in co-existence, we re- and de-organised as we went along, and no one had to step out of the way for anyone else. In the end, Rosa Rummet eventually became a direct parallel to an ”actual” Park Lek.
Six stacks of different large posters were placed on two low plinths in the pink area. They were free for the public to take with them from the exhibition. I imagined them being put up on the walls of homes in the area as a recording of the point where the art project left the conversation. On the green fields around Hallonbergen and Ör, the same posters reappeared along with pink sticks marking the contour of the areas chosen for new settlements in the PARK LEK plan. This was my way of not letting the municipality close down the dialogue along with the art project. The pink sticks served as a wake-up call for the citizens who had been absent in our process.
PARK LEK PARLIAMENT was closed in May 2014 with a concluding exhibition. For the occasion, Rosa Rummet was “exploded” to include also the corridor in front of the shopping mall. The local audience was addressed in multiple different ways at the same time: A model, different kinds of printed matters and maps in different sizes. Text, sound and videos. Elements of the indoor exhibition in the shopping mall also reappeared outside marking the fields proposed by us as future building sites.
We never presented a final version of a counter plan. Instead we presented an open starting point for future necessary dialogues and new planning processes. However, this multiple address corresponded to my experience of the different forms of knowledge and interests in the neighbourhoods. This way we informed all the residents of the many different concretised proposals that constituted the PARK LEK plan and of how these proposals could be socially beneficial and logical to implement in sync with an urban development, e.g. rebuilding of schools, the merger of local cultural institutions, which today are being implemented by the municipality. A large Layer-Upon-Layer-Plan was hung on the wall of Rosa Rummet. This was an ordinary map to which quotes were added – excerpts from thoughts, memories and pieces of actual history of the areas, which I had accumulated during the process. But this map was also an important legacy from PARK LEK to the city. It is the image of a mental identity of the neighbourhoods – the sum of the physical conditions,
All the films produced during the project were displayed in a corner of the exhibition. The voices of the participants therefore filled one side of the exhibition space. On a monitor in the Pink Room, a video of the two urban neighbourhoods filmed with a drone altered the viewpoint of the public. Seeing the well known from an altitude is a spectacular experience. One can feel very proud, although this is not the primary feeling the locals experienced in relation to their urban areas. But at the same time the flying viewpoint is similar to that of planning. It could open up to the reading of a model. A walking figure could sometimes be seen on the film, down below on the ground. This figure can easily be recognised as myself walking through the two areas with my backpack singing/humming a variation of a popular love song as a sort of simple tribute to the people of the two areas. So my song filled the other half of the exhibition space. In the middle of all this, in its normal place, stood the table for informal meetings of locals. As always.
park lek â–Ş marabouparken konsthall â–Ş 2012
Interview with Katie Paterson
Every year from 2014 to 2114, Katie Paterson and the Future Library Trust, consisting of leading publishers, editors and
others, will invite one writer to contribute a new text to a growing collection of unpublished, unread manuscripts. The City of Oslo has gifted Future Library a forest in Nordmarka just outside the city, and in May 2014, Katie Paterson planted 1000 new trees. It will be 100 years before the trees are cut down to provide the paper on which the texts will be printed as an anthology of books in 2114.
Visitors to the forest can experience the slow growth of the trees, inch-by-inch, year-by-year. The manuscripts will be held in trust in a specially designed room in the new Deichmanske Public Library opening in 2019 in Bjørvika, Oslo. Intended to be a space of contemplation, this room - designed by the artist - will be lined with wood from the forest. The authors’ names and titles of their works will be on display, but none of the manuscripts will be available for reading – until their publication in one century’s time. A limited edition artwork has also been produced: a certificate that entitles the buyer to one complete set of the texts on this occasion. Conceived by Katie Paterson, Future Library is produced as part of the public art programme, Slow Space, commissioned by Bjørvika Utvikling and managed by the Future Library Trust. Supported by the City of Oslo, Agency for Cultural Affairs and Agency for Urban Environment.
Can you begin by exploring and explaining your practice? My art practice is multi-disciplinary, exploring ideas relating to the landscape, geology, space, time and the cosmos, often using technology to bring together the commonplace and the cosmic. I work with many different people to realise my ideas, and the imagination always plays a key role. In the past, I have broadcast the sounds of a melting glacier live to a visitor on a mobile phone, mapped all the dead stars, compiled a slide archive of the history of darkness across the ages, custommade a light bulb to simulate the experience of moonlight, and buried a nano-sized grain of sand deep within the Sahara desert. My artwork needs no preconceived knowledge to be imagined or experienced. I have a studio in Berlin, and my practice is changeable and dynamic. In the last few months our research has ranged from lunar chemistry, forestry, geology, clock making and horology, to palaeontology and perfumery. With every idea comes a different approach; new subjects, new methodologies, new techniques, new technologies, new materials, new places, new thoughts. From being atop a distance mountain looking to the edge of the universe, casting a minute grain of sand adrift in the desert, searching for fossils in the snow, and planting a new forest, I’ve found myself in extraordinary situations. Can you describe the different elements in your 100 year project, Future Library? Future Library is my most ambitious artwork to date. It has been several years in the making and it will outlive me and most of us alive today. It is a slow, evolving artwork that will
future library ▪ oslo ▪ 2014
future library ▪ oslo ▪ 2014
unfold in Norway over 100 years. I’ve planted 1,000 trees in a forest just outside Oslo, which will supply paper for a special anthology of books to be printed in 100 years time, when the trees are fully grown. Between now and then, one writer every year will contribute a text with the writings held in trust, unread and unpublished, until 2114. The manuscripts will be stored in a specially designed room in the New Public Deichmanske Library in Bjørvika, Oslo, awaiting the growth of the forest. This artwork will bring together the work of preeminent writers, thinkers and philosophers of this and future generations. It is an artwork that belongs not only to us and the City of Oslo now, but to those who are not yet born. I am elated that Margaret Atwood is our first writer for Future Library. Why did you invite Margaret Atwood to write for Future Library, and how do you feel about her saying yes? I am absolutely overjoyed and honoured that Margaret Atwood is the first writer for Future Library. She is an extraordinary, visionary author, one of the world’s greatest living authors. She explores consequences of technology, human induced apocalypse, environmental disasters, sustainability, survival, extinction, the future of our species, the interrelations between human beings and the natural world. Margaret Atwood was invited to write for Future Library for these reasons. She writes about time and catapults her readers to a future time and place, projecting unsettling, strange, dystopian worlds. Her work has so much to say about us alive now and the futures we are building as a species. Never mind the forest itself surviving, Margaret Atwood asks will human beings survive the 21st century? What do you imagine Margaret Atwood might write? Will Margaret Atwood write of the future, of imagined worlds, or will she write to the future, to the reader in 100 years, imagined lands, civilizations? A fictional short story, a poem? What happens if she writes about a future to a future, will these imagined futures overlap? I’m excited to imagine what the first person will read when they open the first page of the anthology at Margaret
Atwood’s piece. Will they even be able to read it, will they read the same language? Who is going to read that book, a Snowman of the next century? Her work will be a gift to this future generation. How did you feel when you were approached for this commission, and why did you choose Norway as its site? Future Library was a seed in my mind several years ago. I was extremely happy to be approached by Situations and Bjørvika Utvikling to work on a commission for Slow Space, a series of public artworks for Oslo’s harbour area. Norway felt like the perfect place for Future Library to exist and grow. Being covered by forest, with the city surrounded by trees, I imagined the forest may be part of people’s psyches in a more pronounced way. Perhaps a 100-year artwork might be received and thought about differently. How did you first have the idea to ‘grow a book’? I had a very clear vision for Future Library many years ago, but at that point I could never have imagined it would go beyond the dreaming stage. The idea to grow trees to print books arose for me through making a connection with tree rings to chapters – the material nature of paper, pulp and books, and imagining the writer’s thoughts infusing themselves, ‘becoming’ the trees. Almost as if the trees absorb the writer’s words like air or water, and the tree rings become chapters, spaced out over the years to come. I wanted the Future Library forest to exist within a larger forest, becoming part of its ecosystem, and becoming, perhaps, more expansive in the imagination. The forest we have planted is situated about a 25 minute walk from a metro station in Oslo, yet feels deep within the forest. It has no city sounds. We planted 1,000 Norwegian Spruce trees, which in 100 years time should print at least 3,000 anthologies. Who will care for the trees and carry out this work after your life is over? Planning Future Library has been a challenge in many ways: from the consideration of tree types, forested areas,
Norwegian insects and climate, to working with lawyers on 100 year contracts, selecting and inviting authors, thinking and developing an artwork on timespan that is new for me. Trust is a dominant concept throughout. Support has been given by the City of Oslo, and we are working together to ensure the protection of the forest and manuscripts until 2114. We have formed the Future Library Trust, currently with seven members including Publishing Director of Hamish Hamilton, Publishing Director of Forlaget Press, Editor in Chief of Oktober Press and former Director of the Deichmanske Library. The Trust will change its members decade by decade. The paramount objective of the Future Library Trust is to compassionately sustain Future Library for its 100 year duration. I have created a limited edition of 1,000 certificates that entitle each owner to a complete set of the texts printed on the paper made from the trees after they are fully grown and cut down in 2114. The certificate is currently exhibited at Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh running till 27 September 2014. The proceeds go towards sustaining Future Library. 70
What sort of written works do you and the Future Library Trust expect to commission? Who is nominated to the selection committee in the distant future? We are commissioning a new, original piece for Future Library by each of the 100 invited authors, whose names will be announced year by year. The authors are being selected for their “outstanding contributions to literature or poetry and for their work’s ability to capture the imagination of this and future generations”. Two key words in our selection process
are imagination and time. We are inviting contributions from writers of any age, nationality, of any content, of mixed styles and in any language. Will the writers be given rules or guidelines for their texts? The authors will each be invited to take a trip to Oslo, to visit the new library and the forest. They are invited to stay in a cabin in the forest if they wish, and they may choose to write their piece there. We request that their text is submitted within one year of invitation, by manuscript. The Trust will be responsible for ensuring that another copy is archived and
encrypted. Their text mustn’t be published or circulated until after the publication in 2114. Can you describe your collaboration with the architects of the New Deichmanske Library, Oslo? The next key part of the artwork is the Silent Room I am designing in the New Deichmanske Library in Bjørvika in collaboration with the architects Lund Hagem and Atelier Oslo, which will open in 2018. The unread and unpublished texts will be stored in this room. The room will be situated on the top floor of the library. It will be a small, intimate room, encouraging only one or two people at a time, containing the manuscripts with the author’s name, the title of their text and the year visible. We will be building the room using the trees we recently cleared from the forest, still containing the scent of the trees. The atmosphere is key in our design, aiming to create a sense of quietude, peacefulness, a contemplative space which can allow the imagination to journey to the forest, the trees, the writing, the deep time, the invisible connections, the mystery. What are your thoughts about the phrase “The end of one object may be the beginning of another”? Sometimes beginnings and ends have no distinction. The beginnings of Future Library could be anything from the small sketch of tree rings as chapters I made on a train several years ago, or the seedlings that have just been planted, or the first words written. Some of the authors who will write for Future Library are not yet born. And where does this artwork end? The books will be printed on the paper made from the fullygrown trees in 100 years time, but we have no sense of how long into the future these books might be read. And the 1,000 new trees may regenerate into other trees, and so on. How does it feel to start an artwork which is literally impossible for you to see fully accomplished? When I had the idea for Future Library, I knew instantly it would outlive me (and most of us alive today). It is important
that I do not see it fully realised - it is a work conceived for an unknown, future generation. However, it will unfold over this generation and the next, and remarkably, I will spend my whole life crafting this artwork. Every decision I make now regarding Future Library I have to think in 100 year timespans. How will the library room be looked at and experienced in 100 years? How will the materials react over the decades to come? What languages will people be speaking in 100 years? What kind of technologies will exist? What will the status of the printed book be, the written word? I feel very privileged and excited about the possibilities in the decades to come. You have said previously that your works are not meant to deliberately provoke a specific reaction? Exactly, generally my works aren’t intended to provoke a particular response, but function more like a butterfly effect, beginning like a wave and rippling out quietly. My own creative processes are similar. Ideas come, often through a process of writing, images appearing clearly in what feels like a millisecond. The idea is discrete, described in a few words. The idea for Future Library happened in one of these micro seconds where notions of time, growth, future, place, stories, pulp, matter, cells, smells, all collapsed into one. Future Library is not a directly environmental statement, but involves ecology, the interconnectedness of things – those living now and still to come. There appears to be significance in the time your projects take to come to fruition, Future Library possibly not even in your lifetime? The processes involved in bringing my artworks to fruition unfold over long periods of time. Writing letters to declare stellar deaths over one year. Moon light bulbs, which burn for the duration of a human life. An ongoing archive of images of darkness that has no end. My work involves time in many layers. However, it still acts in the moment. There is a very immediate encounter. The very durational and slow works like Future Library are still organic, still in movement. Even the atoms in the trees are still shifting and breathing.
And what of the slow nature of your artworks in relation to the speed and urgency of the world outside? Some of my artworks are fast – like Streetlight Storm, where lightning strikes hit the lights in split seconds. The meteorite launched to space at hundreds of kilometres per hour. Then works like Future Library really slow the pace down to over a century. There is still constant movement within the artwork; inviting authors, the library room design, trust meetings, forest tending, yearly events, the writing, even the tree rings forming. Future Library will evolve and live over ‘long time’ and over ‘now’ simultaneously. I like the idea that time is substance that can be manipulated and invented. I certainly see time as non-linear – reaches of time, webs, loops, networks, holes – and visualise time growing and existing like a cell or a wave, expanding and contracting. Future Library is marked out by yearly demarcations, and these ‘chapters’ keep it fluid. In her letter to you, Margaret Atwood said “This project, at least, believes the human race will still be around in a hundred years!” Do you feel optimistic? In its essence, Future Library is hopeful – it believes there will be a forest, a book, and a reader in 100 years. The choices of this generation will shape the centuries to come, perhaps in an unprecedented way. Inside the forest, time stands still. This place could have existed for one hundred, one thousand, one million, or even one hundred million years. I take comfort in the natural processes that have unfolded over such enormous expanses of time. Imagining the plethora of living beings that have evolved in its ecosystem. Looking back 100 years, who could have predicted the sea changes in 1914? Technologies advance faster than ever now. How do we conceptualise and think about these changes as they overtake us? I hope the writings in the Future Library Anthology will contain crystallised moments from this era to the next. Each piece of writing will hold within it something of its own time, own moment, projected into an unknown future.
72 restaurant day ▪ Kallio district ▪ 2011
Everyman’s City: Engaging people in urban change and development in Helsinki Hella Hernberg Architect and Designer, Helsinki
As an architect, I’ve always been interested in how people use the environments that have been designed or not designed for them. How can people, the experts of their own lives, be more involved in shaping the environments they live in?
As a student I was drawn to look at urban wastelands and other undefined places that have attracted people’s creativity and acted as a catalyst for self-initiated projects that also lay an impact on the image of the city and its urban culture. At the background of my current design practice, Urban Dream Management is my master’s thesis (2008) with the same title. In urban planning, the tradition of participatory design stems from the 1970’s (e.g. Arnstein 1969). In Finland, citizen involvement in urban planning is in fact mandatory under the Land Use and Building Act since 2000. However, in many participatory and neighborhood democracy projects, citizens have had little real say, their influence being superficial at best. One reason may be that participation is placed too late in the planning process, when actual decisions have already been made.
Meanwhile, in other areas of design, recent decades have shown a rapid development in human-centered and collaborative design research situated in the “early frontend” of the design process (e.g. Sanders & Stappers 2012). Whereas the more conventional design research methods have focused on understanding users’ needs and current practices, the newer types of “innovative” methods promote a more creative approach exploring future possibilities together with users and stakeholders (Keinonen 2009, Hanington, 2003). The future-oriented approaches that give stakeholders different tools to express their creativity and envision potential futures together show potential also in the context of urban planning, where the timescale is very different from, say, product or service design. Helsinki – a city in Transition Beside the official processes of democratic decision-making and planning, there is a movement towards more direct citizen involvement on a local scale through actual making and doing, here and now. In Helsinki, recent years have shown a rapid evolvement of active neighbourhood projects, voluntary activities and urban events initiated by citizens or entrepreneurs. Urban farmers are turning abandoned railway yards and disused parks into vibrant green areas, time banks are providing an organised framework for reciprocal service between neighbours, and DIY-restaurateurs put up food stalls on four days each year during the Restaurant Day food carneval1. Groups of volunteers organise sports, cooking or art activities with asylum seekers, and young people team up to enrich the social life in senior homes. This rise of communal initiatives in Helsinki has created a freer and more collective urban culture in the city. In 2012, when Helsinki celebrated its year as a World Design Capital, I documented this phenomenon in the book Helsinki Beyond Dreams, which is a collection of stories from a city that is breaking free of old social norms and becoming a place where grassroots culture is flourishing. Since its launch in 2012, we have again seen an unimaginable
number of exciting new endeavors and projects. Restaurant Day has grown into a worldwide festival with thousands of one-day restaurants and has been followed by many similar concepts such as Cleaning Day that turns the city’s parks and streets into a big flea market. New neighbourhood movements are rising up in many parts of the city. These examples do not only momentarily enrich the urban life, but they have contributed to a new dialogue that has emerged between citizens, planners and decision-makers, paving way for a more open city that wants to encourage the endeavors of its citizens and entrepreneurs. A communally developed city Over the coming decades, the 466 year-old city of Helsinki will grow faster than it ever has before. It is estimated that the population of the city will increase by approximately 10.5% between now and 2030.2 This has led to a feverish search for space for new construction and housing in particular. The city’s two major ports were moved to the eastern suburb of Vuosaari in 2008, freeing up large areas for new residential development. The changing landscapes of Helsinki are breathing new energy into the city. The undefined and temporary nature of the vacated port areas and railway canyons is an inspiring feature of a new Helsinki. These spaces have, momentarily, offered Helsinki residents a new environment where different rules apply than in the normal urban space. Although the city is under rapid planned development, the new Helsinki will, as we live and feel it, be created through the joint efforts, actions and shared experiences of its people. Urban gardens, time banks and street festivals have been largely produced by volunteers. New financing models, such as crowdfunding, are becoming increasingly popular. Projects based on volunteering sow seeds for new business ventures as well: coffee roasters, coworking spaces and new restaurants. The recent construction of the Sompasauna in Kalasatama without building permission led first to demolition by city officials. However, following a fiery public debate, a new kind
of dialogue between authorities and the activists was created. A new Sompasauna now exists as the “most public sauna in Helsinki”, available to anyone.3 It is as if people have rediscovered what we Finns call everyman’s rights – a legal concept related to nature that we can now apply to our new relationship with the urban environment.4 This rising culture of doing is also built on Finland’s strong tradition of ”talkoot” (translating as community effort) and third sector organisation culture, while new technologies, such as social media, have revolutionised the organisational aspects of volunteering. “Volunteer work is nothing new. What makes today’s volunteer activities different is the capacity for quick, broad and inexpensive organisation facilitated by new technology,”
said Tanja Aitamurto, a Visiting Researcher at UC Berkeley exploring the societal impacts of collective intelligence such as crowdsourcing, co-creation and open innovation. 74
This includes placemaking and Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper (LQC) projects to turn urban spaces into meaningful places using limited resources and little time. LQC projects give anyone the opportunity to become a “designer” of their living environment. Designers as agents of change So who exactly is designing the city – and does it matter? The line between professional and amateur designer is becoming blurred. As John Thackara wrote back in 2005, “Designers are having to evolve from being the individual authors of objects or buildings to being the facilitators of change among large groups of people.”
Citizens’ own self-generated projects demonstrate that great transformative power lies in people themselves. Self-organised projects are complementing long-term urban planning and creating life in the city in the here and now – if they are allowed to. This new emphasis on activity is also changing the relationship between citizens and governing bodies. Tanja Aitamurto talks about ‘the democracy of making’: “it means citizen participation in the surrounding society by making, building the new and adapting the old. Ideally, the democracy
of making also involves public administration as an enabler of activities and a magnifier of positive impacts.”
Now that many grand urban projects are starting in Helsinki, and the new strategic plan for 2050 has been updated, a key question is not only how people can participate in planning, but how to integrate the spontaneity and the creative energy of citizen initiatives with the official long term planning processes. From the designer’s perspective, the question is how to best facilitate these types of projects and scale up best practices. According to Herbert Simon’s (1996) well-known definition, design is the process by which we “devise courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.” The focus is no longer on designing the end product, but rather on creating a platform that enables activity and desired changes to happen. Temporary use as a platform for change Temporary use of spaces and urban areas and its role as innovation capacity in urban development has become a topic of research in Europe in recent decades. Finnish architect, professor Panu Lehtovuori, has done extensive research on temporary uses of spaces lying in wait for the future (Lehtovuori et al 2003). He points out that temporary uses are an underutilised resource of urban planning, and in many countries they don’t yet have an official status within planning or legal framework. In his recent proposal, Urban Accelerator (Lehtovuori & Ruoppila, 2011), Lehtovuori suggested that temporary uses should be taken seriously and placed at the very nucleus of urban planning. “New radical culture, such as experimental theatre or new music, flourishes in temporary spaces. They are part of the pluralistic culture of big metropolises. Authentic cultural actors or startup businesses are crucial to cities’ success in global competition.”
Temporary, experimental projects act as place-makers, turning yet undefined locations into something unique with a new, distinct identity – while helping introducing the areas to the public. They may also be profitable for real-estate owners,
increasing property value through a new image. Even cheap rents can cover the maintenance costs of buildings lying unused (Hernberg, 2014).
urban gardening. The first intuition was thus proved right – but of course with a small budget and short timeframe, only a small fraction of initial ideas could be realised.
Kalasatama Temporary A project that pioneered temporary use as integrated into urban planning in Helsinki was the Kalasatama Temporary (2009-2011). Kalasatama used to be one of Helsinki’s large cargo ports, which was relocated in 2008. Wide-open asphalt fields and shorelines with new views towards downtown Helsinki opened up in wait for new construction. The whole area comprising 175 hectares will be home to about 25,000 people and 8,000 work places. Now in 2016, the first residents of Kalasatama have already moved in, but because of the scale of the operations, construction of the whole area may take decades. Back in 2009, this caused the officials to realise that something could be done during the time in between.
After the official project ended in 2011, temporary use has continued in the hands of some of the activist groups, but year by year the free area in the harbour is being eaten up by construction work.
The project, named Kalasatama Temporary, aimed to invite citizens and different active groups to organise public activities in the harbour, and to introduce this formerly closed area to citizens. Kalasatama Temporary was based on a hunch that there were active people in Helsinki who would organise inspiring things if they were given a little push to do so. The project was started with an open brunch exchanging ideas for food in order to find out what people wanted to do in the harbour. We then invited active urban groups as pioneers in the area to start the activities with the hope that things would progress spontaneously. The city provided small things such as containers, playgrounds and water supply for urban farmers, with the idea that for the most part the activity would be in people’s own hands. Parts of the harbour were opened to the public in 2010, and a new cycling and pedestrian route was opened, making the harbour’s seashore accessible to everyone. During the two years of Kalasatama Temporary, the place quickly evolved into a prominent stage for grassroots activities. The spot that once served as no more than a road sign indicating a closed industrial area was now a “free zone”: an area for legal graffiti, free art exhibitions held in a container, bicycle brunches, swimming, concerts, night movies, fine dining and
Temporary use of Kalasatama was invaluable advertisement for an area still developing its identity. However, a big question remained – how might the temporary use and a free, active spirit be reflected in the actual Kalasatama neighbourhood, when it will be finished? To this, the urban planners haven’t given proper answers. As the first project of its kind in Finland, Kalasatama Temporary was a learning experience. The project was an experiment in colliding two different operating cultures: the spontaneity of self-organised projects and the processes of a large, bureaucratic organisation that is used to making stable, long-term decisions. The fact that several different city offices, hierarchically equal, were responsible for different functions of the area, but not always unanimous, did not make operating the project any easier. It was also clear that the vision of city leaders might not directly communicate to the everyday decisions of middle management, when it is a matter of changing conventional practices, habits or values. Redesigning governance? During the past five years or so, there has been a rapid development in city government opening up towards citizens and adopting new kinds of operation models. Experimentation and openness have become almost buzzwords. The City of Helsinki supports “local democracy pilots”5, while the Finnish government is experimenting with citizen’s legal initiatives and even crowdsourcing the drafting of legislation6. Recently a governmental project for experimentation culture has been launched7. Projects such as the Design Driven City8, where three designers worked within different projects of the City of Helsinki, have
paved way for human-centered approaches and prototyping culture in the city’s service development and management. Since 2014, I have had the honour to be involved in founding and teaching a new multidisciplinary course at Aalto University: Design for Government9, where designers solve complex problems provided by Finnish ministries, utilising methods of human-centered design, systems thinking and behavioural insight. Embedding design into government is part of a global phenomenon with examples such as the Danish Mindlab, the Policy Lab under UK cabinet or the Public Policy Lab of New York.10 At the core of opening up of the public sector is also the discussion on how bottom-up projects could complement top-down governance. Could we move from bilateral cooperation towards an iterative cycle? Could society at its best operate as an open process, in which small-scale local projects and experiments are reflected in the broader goals of society; practice and governance would feed off and learn from each other. 76
The contemporary designer can be seen as an agent that operates between the different stakeholders in society, providing methods for fruitful cooperation and the resolution of potential conflicts. Design can also provide stewardship for organisations or systems on the path to change. (Boyer et al. 2013) Finally, let’s get back to the question of urban events. What is their significance beyond the collectively enjoyed moment? Even small projects can have far-reaching societal impacts. Community events can be a way to develop a new culture for living and operating in a shared urban space as well as the culture of administration of shared matters. “Putting together new events is also a way of finding out how the bureaucracy works and how it could be developed. It also may lead to new interpretations of existing regulations and create new practices,” said Jaakko Blomberg, founder and producer of Yhteismaa (Common Ground)11, the organisation behind many new events such as Cleaning Day, Dinner under the sky or Gallery Wednesday. The best concepts find life in new contexts and their impacts
are reflected in the day-to-day life of residents. This is design of the operating culture at its best.
references: 1. Arnstein, Sherry R (1969). “A Ladder of Citizen Participation,” IN: JAIP, Vol. 35, No. 4, July 1969, pp. 216-224. (retrieved from: http://lithgow-schmidt.dk/sherry-arnstein/ladder-of-citizenparticipation.html) 2. Boyer Bryan, Cook Justin W. & Steinberg Marco (2013). Legible Practices – Six Stories about the craft of stewardship. Helsinki: Sitra 3. Hanington, B (2003). Methods in the making. A perspective on the state of human research in design. In: Design Issues, 19, 4(2003), 9-18 4. Hernberg, Hella (2008). Urban Dream Management – Revitalising Urban Residual Areas through Temporary Uses. Master’s thesis, Helsinki University of Technology 5. Hernberg, Hella (ed) (2012). Helsinki Beyond Dreams - Actions toward a Creative and Sustainable Hometown. Helsinki: Urban Dream Management. 6. Hernberg, H (2014). Tyhjät tilat. Näkökulmia ja keinoja olemassa olevan rakennuskannan uusiokäyttöön. Helsinki: Ministry of the Environment 7. Keinonen, Turkka (2009). Design method – instrument, competence or agenda? Multiple ways to Design Research. Swiss Design Research Symposium’09. Lugano, Switzerland. 8. Lehtovuori Panu, Hentilä Helka-Liisa, Bengs Christer (2003). Tilapäiset käytöt 9. kaupunkisuunnittelun unohdettu voimavara. Publications in the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies C58. Espoo: Helsinki University of Technology 10. Lehtovuori Panu, Ruoppila Sampo (2011). Kaupunkikiihdytin – Tilapäiset käytöt kehittämisen voimavarana. Helsinki: Ministry of the Environment 11. Thackara, John (2005). In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World, MIT Press. 12. Sanders Elizabeth, Stappers Pieter Jan (2012). Convivial Toolbox – Generative Research for the Front End of Design. Amsterdam: Bis Publishers 13. Sanders, Elizabeth (2008). An evolving map of design practice and design research. In: Interactions, ACM 15, 6 (2008), 13-17 14. Simon, Herbert. 1996 . The sciences of the artificial. Third edition. Cambridge: 15. MIT Press
Cycle-in night movie ▪ kalasatama ▪ 2011 endnotes: 1. www.restaurantday.org 2. City of Helsinki population forecast 2011–2050. Helsinki Urban Facts, City Statistics 31/2010. “POPULATION REGISTER CENTRE, REGISTER INFORMATION AS OF 31 AUGUST 2013” (in Finnish and Swedish). Population Register Center of Finland. http://vrk. fi/default.aspx?docid=7675&site=3&id=0 3. http://www.sompasauna.fi/ 4. http://www.ymparisto.fi/en-US/Nature/Everymans_ rights(27721)
5. 6. 7.
http://demokratia.hel.fi/ otakantaa.fi, kansalaisaloite.fi, suomijoukkoistaa.fi http://valtioneuvosto.fi/hallitusohjelman-toteutus/ digitalisaatio/karkihanke4 8. www.toimivakaupunki.fi/en/ 9. www.dfg-course.aalto.fi 10. www.mind-lab.dk/en,www.designcouncil.org.uk/newsopinion/uk-cabinet-office-launches-new-policy-design-lab, www.publicpolicylab.org/ 11. www.yhteismaa.fi/en/
interview with elle-mie ejdrup hansen Elle-Mie Ejdrup Hansen explores a variety of media ranging from drawing and classic oil painting to large-scale site-specific works that investigate relations between space, technology and people. The outset is often a specific topography and spatiality â€“ be it a characteristic Danish coastline, a field in Western Jutland, a building complex in a socially challenged neighbourhood or a church. How would you define your work?
If I would not do this, I would drown in the administration and in the organisation, so I have to include it as part of the artistic endeavor. It is naturally also about being able to control and understand every aspect of the work. Working with highly complicated technology and media demands that I am able to understand details and processes as the work is often fragile and open, and there is always a high element of risk. Both weather and human mistakes can easily affect the work. My concepts are never implemented 100%, and in this situation of negotiating, the work must balance between an absolute conceptual clarity and, on the other hand, maintain openness and robustness that it will in fact adapt to given situations. In this way, we could speak of an artistic system or morphology and not just an artistic process, which must be in harmony if it is to survive.
I am pre-occupied by the concept. I do not improvise to initiate work, and I do not let the work develop by starting and letting it unfold. I need to have a clear concept before I start, and most of my work is directly related to a given situation. Either one, which is given to me as a commission, or one, which I formulate myself. I am in fact educated as a craftsman, and in my work I oscillate between the role of designer and artist, but the fact that I insist on maintaining the artistic perspective gives my work a sense of the unresolved and of questioning.
Your background is as a visual artist, always working with media and technology, in particular sound and light, and also often with design and design processes. These cross-over situations partly explain your unique approach and variety of work, but another factor is that for the past 30 years your work has often had the landscape as reference, context or subject. From where does this fascination of the landscape come?
Like many artists, I seem to be obsessed with certain questions, and I seem to be readdressing these issues constantly, so I am refining my practice rather than expanding my practice. My work is essentially about how to realise a concept and how to secure the meaning with the work at the core, despite often many practical problems and contextual limitation. So my work is conceptual and there has to be an issue at stake and a clear purpose.
The landscape has always meant a lot to me. It was simply part of my early forming. My father taught me to read the landscape, its lines, colours, animal movements, and I spent lots of time with him on his hunting trips. I got to know the landscape, the constant changes of the light and the season. It became part of me and it is always present. I still remember my first meeting with the stormy North Sea and how the scale and force was both fascinating and humbling.
The process of creating is also part of the work. As I often work with complicated and layered projects where there are many factors involved, I must be able to navigate in this organisational and structural reality. Many artists are either not prepared to accept these conditions or opt to give this role to others. For me, it is actually part of the work. In the first large scale work The Line, The Light in 1995, I exhibited my archives as part of the work.
My most defining walks in the sand dunes along the west coast came after a year with cancer and after a treatment where I had to fight to regain the belief that I could be healthy again. I came across many bunkers constructed as a German defense line during WW2 from Norway to the Spanish coast â€“ a fascist construction, which was being eroded gradually by rain, wind and sand. Time and the force of nature had changed them to formless sculptures. Theses fascist scars on
Trehøje ▪ Molsbjerge ▪ 2011
Gudenåen ▪ Ulstrup ▪ 2011
the landscape were likened to my scars after what I regarded as a fascist disease against my body. This link between the landscape and the body is an essential condition which forms me. I can say that in fact I am coloured by the landscape, physically and mentally. The sense of the earth itself is a vital part of this. The earth, which can change to light lilac in a certain light. It is embedded in my soul – like many Inuit are connected with the ice landscape and the open horizon, and Africans are linked to red earth. What does the landscape mean for you, as it is obviously far more than the purely visual or textual?
In The Line, The Light it turned out that all the artists were, in some way, connected to Paul Virilio, the French philosopher. There was a philosophical, peaceful and meditative landscape where the notion of constant change of nature visible in the landscape was embedded in our way of working. Here, the notion of light and of the horizon as defining elements became essential parts of my artistic vocabulary. In 1990, I was invited to Georgia right after the fall of the Berlin Wall. I was the first artist to be invited. I experienced a ritual homage for dead animals as a physical act on a piece of barren earth, symbolising the land as common. This made a huge impression on me. Although someone owns a piece of land, it still remains open. It is still part of the commons and the common identity and it cannot be closed off. As a single person, I am able to be part of and not just look at the landscape. I am part of universe and a human community. There is space for all of us “under the open sky”. So this experience is an existential and metaphysical state of experience and understanding which is at the heart of how I perceive my role. In your work, you build a relationship with the landscape. You often start your work with drawing the landscape, sketches which are often large scale and with a clear horizon. But do you also walk through the landscape and experience it? Yes, I believe that one must experience and not just see the
work. The bodily act of engagement allows us to connect with the work. To wander into the light or to follow a straight line across the landscape is in fact being immersed in the work. Many artists have used the act of walking as a symbolic but also physical act – becoming part of the work and the landscape. And you are also forming the landscape as it reacts to human use. Another feature of your work is the scale. Many land art projects of the 70s and onwards had the same approach, but how are you aware of the human scale? Scale is of course relative. My point of departure is the open landscape with wide horizons. My first experience of engaging with nature on a large scale was the first time I set up a 50 km light along the coast amid a huge storm where the heavens and sea were swirling. Sand was blowing so that the laser light found it almost impossible to cut through. There were candles in all the house windows facing the sea as symbol of hope for those at sea. This experience was in fact both exalting and frightening. I remember talking about this with Niels Højlund, and I asked whether we in fact had the right to act on such a scale. Was it too epic, and did it disturb the order of things, as we seemed to be challenging fate and questioning nature as determining our life? I have been confronted by death several times in my life. When I was four, I almost died. I lost my father when I was nineteen, and my mother died when I was twenty seven. I have had cancer, and doctors were doubtful that I would in fact reach the age of forty. So the notion of challenging death is something I am aware of, and I think it is necessary for all of us to do this. So the elements of the horizon in my work, which is always present along with a strong and defined light which cuts though the landscape and the heavens and challenges the open landscape and darkness, is an essential part of many of my works.
Although one is alone in the landscape, I think we are comforted by this landscape at the same time. So scale, in this respect, is in fact not necessarily threatening. I believe that we can be empowered in the meeting with these kinds of unlimited space. Humans seek these existential moments. On tops of mountains, in sailing boats on oceans, where one becomes immersed and part of something. I try to position the work in order to invite to such a meeting, where the individual is confronted by his/herself in such extreme situations. Your work “Light, Landscape and Voices”, which was made as a moveable installation for the landscape of Djursland, had another layer. That of several hundred voices reading the poetry of Inger Christensen. What was the reason behind this, and what do you think this act of reading her poetry meant for the participants? The human voice to me has always represented the very personal but also a sense of community – even memory and community, which can be created. I often work with voices in unison, and this is also undoubtedly linked to the church choirs and the particular Danish tradition of singing and reciting in social gatherings. Perhaps the human voice in this respect is the perfect community builder. The voice is also the inner landscape if you will. In Light, Landscape and Voices, 757 people read this quite difficult and intellectual poetry. By the act of reading, the work became larger, and every person experienced a ”moment” when hearing his/her own voice together with others – a collective work. The readings were recorded and then adapted as part of a larger soundscape. This act of commitment to a piece of art is both symbolic but also a concrete act of community building. In the work I have just completed in Vestre Prison, working with a visitors’ centre, I asked the inmates to write the simple words of “welcome” and “thank you for coming” in their own handwriting as part of the creation of the work. By involving them in the process and committing to a common phrase, they invested their individuality. I interviewed many of them.
For me, this is necessary as I have to both understand their needs and also the needs of the staff and of the visitors. It takes a long time for me to be accepted and also for me to accept their reality as the point of departure for the project. It is a kind of conditioning. Site specific, but more. Human specific if one will. And yes, I believe that the work is in fact formed with this dialogue as the core. I don’t think you could call my work democratic as there are strict formats and limitations to how people can engage. However, the work always presupposes active participation. The work is not mine but becomes a common work by an act of engagement. It is an open work. The work gains strength, authenticity and relevance by this engagement. If the inmates would not identify with the work, the project would be a failure no matter how aesthetically pleasing and functional the result might be. The aim of the work is to further and intensify the meeting between individuals who essentially are separated. There is a clear trend in visual and performative art to include the audience and to make the work more process based and more inclusive. In your work, you are always in control of the situation. The work and the process is almost a design process where individual actions or voices are part of a larger whole. What is your approach to opening the work? I am not primarily interested in so called “closed communities”. But a church and even a prison are in fact “open structures” on the one hand and also extremely closed and controlled structures on the other hand. Open to all people in principle but controlled. In both situations, I wanted to use light to generate a sense of the “something else” and heighten the sense of freedom for the individual within this situation. Sometimes we create momentary communities on the basis of a shared experience. I am more concerned with the notion of the universal and the belief that the human condition is the overriding perspective artists must be able to relate to. And we do this with the creation of common experiences as floating or transient communities based on real, artistic acts. These unique experiences become deeply embedded in our psyches and our memories and in this way also become
Trehøje ▪ Molsbjerge ▪ 2011
guiding forces in our lives. One of your recent works was created for and in Gellerup, a so called ghetto in Aarhus with a clearly modernistic and some might say brutalist architecture, which is again undergoing another brutal change of regeneration. How do you see your role in a complex but confrontational situation like this? In Gellerup, when the project Light and Change opened, I was caught up in the protests against the planning proposal and in particular against the demolition of five residential blocks in this modernist high rise suburb. In this situation, the residents were not clear about my point of view or the role of the art work at first. I was concerned about presenting the place. The light beam gave a clear perspective to the place – a new sense of orientation. The situation was complex, and during the eight weeks the project lasted, they found out that I did not take part in the conflict but I showed another perspective. This I felt was the right position to take. As we have seen, you have recently created work for both a church and a prison. In both situations, one can speak of a public building but also of a small, intense and micro society. Your use of light to deconstruct and to open was a clear approach. This is not something you decide from a purely aesthetic viewpoint, but after long conversations with the users. How did these processes affect the work? When working in the church and the prison, I maintained a position of independence, and this must be clear from the outset. If artists give up this privileged position, they become merely partisans to the conflict. With regards to the political aspect, I agree that I wanted to open the neighbourhood, and I wanted to create a work which made people feel proud. I think that worked. I also wanted to give light to this rather monotone and sometimes overwhelming neighbourhood, which was defined as a ghetto for many outside, but primarily it was made for the residents. I had one particular image in my mind – a single woman going for an evening walk on her own.
In the case of Vestre Prison, the aim of the visitors’ house was based on the belief that this neutral meeting place could improve the psychological and emotional quality of everyone living, working or visiting the prison. My role was to investigate what this meeting situation might be, and how it might be supported and facilitated. This is far more than a simple exercise in logistics as the act of meeting in such situations is over layered by personal memories, traumas, mourning, loss of identity, confused roles, hope or despair. Each person is put into a highly charged situation which could either act as a source of relief and release or as the opposite So the resulting building and signage must be a place of welcome, there must be a sign of hope, and the meeting itself must be an act of hope. Dostoyevsky wrote that human beings must always have a glimpse of something else – an alternative – and thus the crack in the building and the use of light is an essential element of the work. From an artistic approach, where the art work itself was the focus of public art, artists are now working more as facilitators of reflection and change, creating interventions in often problematic social situations, which require multiple actions to re-address the segregation of cities. Are you comfortable with this role and do you think that artists have a role and a voice in these processes? As throwing a stone into a pool, I believe naively that my work as an artist must have the ambition to stimulate and create change in the world and change so called reality. I work in the public space or the public realm and thus I am part of the public narrative in an extremely local or specific situation, but also on a mental level. I have both perspectives in mind when I create. I think many artists have this point of departure, implicit or explicit. The work must operate on different levels to relate to a defined physical and social reality, and the meaning” in this sense must be defined. My work is layered as the work must be seen from different points. This is the artist’s primary function – to maintain both perspectives. It must open up and also reach out.
dennis design center ▪ copenhagen ▪ metropolis 2011
Temporary Urban Utopias BUREAU DETOURS Creative organisation, Aarhus + COPENHAGEN + OSLO
Transit areas, parking lots, streets, derelict urban spaces and abandoned industrial sites are forgotten by most city inhabitants. In these urban non-places, urban utopias flourish – and inspire young and old to engage with their neighbourhood. These utopian constructions demand that you plan for the unexpected, which allows for spontaneity in the social sphere in cities, where there can be a temporary outburst of community and intimacy in the public space, which breaks all previous behaviour and patterns set for that exact space. And that is the moment we pursue in our 1:1 scale urban interventions on both short-term and long-term basis. But can temporary urban projects create lasting effect? We set out into the vast city landscape as janitors of the urban wilderness, bringing craftsmanship and a pragmatic
approach to the use of the city. We do not believe in taking on all the conflicts of city planning in an ideological crusade for an all-inclusive public space. It is a worthy cause, but a true urban janitor works locally. Temporary fixes of the cracks will encourage others to maintain urban spaces and give them a sense of ownership. The aim is to plant a seed in people’s mind that might grow and spread throughout other urban spaces. This is the main purpose of Bureau Detours’ work – we try to make a difference in how people see urban space and give them a sense of the possibilities in their neighbourhood by temporarily altering the rules. A pure example of a temporary urban utopia is the project Vejforskning (Street Research) – made in different areas
of Aarhus in 2011 – where Bureau Detours temporarily transformed residential streets into public spaces by closing them off for car traffic with road blocks, at the request of local inhabitants. The large new public space enabled inhabitants to experience their neighbourhood and interact with each other in new ways. The sudden change from a suburban road to an open area made people see their local neighbourhood as a place of possibility – as an urban playground of their own making. Many of the participants used the new public
spaces to create an exciting place for their children to play, organise a party for all the neighbours to get together and other social activities. Temporariness and unpredictability are creative forces in redefining the cultural production of the average city users. Despite the short-term closing of streets (only over weekends), Vejforskning enabled inhabitants to construct their own utopia for two days. Activating people with such a simple gesture, which putting up two roadblocks is, reflects how enthusiastic the city’s inhabitants are to reclaim their streets and neighbourhoods. All you need to create a participatory social culture in a local area is to give inhabitants the thrilling feeling of taking initiative in their own community – even if it is only temporary. Another way of inspiring urban change is to show the way. During Metropolis Festival in Copenhagen in 2011, Bureau Detours created a two-week long project involving four custom-built shipping containers on an urban patch of grass. This was the headquarters of DENNIS Design Center, which delivered actual tangible solutions to problems and challenges in the surrounding urban space through site-specific designs, projects and workshops, inspired by listening to the locals and discussing the area’s development and history. The neighbourhood inhabitants were used as a valuable resource of knowledge and inspiration for building designs for the urban space – where DENNIS Design Center built, among other things, on-site benches, tables and chairs designed by practical need and use of the area’s leftover materials. Bureau Detours transformed the urban area into a free space, open to all, by using the city itself as a canvas for impressionistic designs. These included hanging handcrafted swings in the trees, building custom designed ramps for skaters and clearing an unused public space to host a barbecue with free food – inviting passers-by to join in and try out the previously unused space. The physicality of DENNIS Design Center, with custom-built containers and colourful sheds and furniture, played an important role in creating the temporary illusion of a place, where anything could happen. The platform managed to involve both young and old to participate in D.I.Y. urban projects, where Bureau Detours asked the inhabitants not to focus on what their city could do for them, but instead look for what they themselves could do for the city – to see public
space as a work in progress, as something to engage with. Every now and then, when people experience something unexpected in the urban space – a beautiful mural on a wall, a box of wildflowers by the sidewalk, a spontaneous street party – it briefly catches people’s attention and, if successful, brings a smile to their faces. Collective change to the urban space should bring site-specific, fun, practical improvements that add to a city’s diversity. For that reason, local inhabitants taking initiative in their community plays a significant role in both the cultural development and the social relations in the neighbourhoods. An example of a longer-lasting urban utopia is the culture platform Institut for (X) in the old freight train yard Godsbanen in central Aarhus. Institut for (X) has since its beginning in 2009 been defined by its temporality, as it for the first 5 years didn’t have a contract for use of the area. The platform inhabitants were therefore always waiting for a deadline that could push them out of the area at any given moment. This pressure could have been a problem, but like most temporary utopias, Institut for (X) flourished in the unpredictability. In its 7th year, the platform includes over 150 inhabitants in a diverse mix of designers, musicians, artists, entrepreneurs and craftsmen all part of the platform. Institut for (X) is completely shaped by its inhabitants, and the area’s many projects revolve around an impulsiveness that is not structured or planned in the same definitive way as usually in urban planning. The urban area is vibrant with life as a living organism with a blossoming of social activities and the city’s cultural growth layer. The platform has a temporary status as a space for innovation and creativity, managed by its free expression rather than being constrained by rules and building permits. In its simplicity, Institut for (X) is a temporary utopia full of possibilities for the open-minded, and its ability to continue to grow – with new inhabitants joining every month – is an honest perspective into the importance of free spaces in urban environments. By creating temporary urban utopias, we can inspire people’s activities and behaviour in the enclosed city structures with the simple act of showing them, temporarily, that the city is a playground.
institut for (x) â–Ş bureau detours â–Ş aarhus
eflections Phoenix ▪ refshaleøen ▪ metropolis 2015
Complex Coventry: Towards an Urban Sensography nicolas whybrow Reader & Chair of The School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies, University of Warwick
Like Copenhagen’s Metropolis Festival, my concern is with the way art engages with urban contexts in increasingly varied ways. My research makes the case for art to be seen as implicitly constitutive of the city; in the same way as we accept that architects, engineers and planners build cities, so art actively contributes to their construction via the precipitation of not only urban imaginaries but also realities. As Metropolis has shown, public art in cities has infinitely widened its scope in recent times. A multifarious new aesthetic has emerged – incorporating the official and unofficial – that locates itself in and is contingent upon urban contexts, and that frequently enlists a participatory spectatorship so the citizen is central. The significance of urban art rests, then, on it holding a vital and integrated position that is thoroughly implicated within the quotidian workings of urban life and can therefore be said to be as essential as any other public amenity available in the city. Thus, art proves itself to be indispensable and this is accounted for in part by its capacities to tease out the complexities of 21st century urban living. This may include drawing attention to the latter’s precarious, often fragmented or dispersed nature and, therefore, the challenges to its sustainability. So, part of the implicit function of art is to initiate and facilitate forms of public critique for the general good of the urban populace. Via its inherent pre-occupation with creativity and culture, it has a decisive role to play in shaping as well as drawing conclusions about the constitution of urban futures as habitable public space. The sense of a city
With the city of Coventry undergoing radical regeneration and preparing to bid in 2017 to become UK City of Culture in 2021, the implementation of arts practices as the means to track and galvanise transformation is an idea that is very much ‘in play’ in the city at this point in time. A collaborative practicebased research project I have in preparation is entitled Sensing the City. This will undertake a series of site-specific
studies of urban rhythms, atmospheres, textures, practices and patterns of behaviour using the sensate, performing human body as a data-gathering sensor and applying techniques of writing and notation as well as technologies of sound/oral recording, photography and film to respond to, document and process fieldwork activity. The final phase will involve visualising documented text, sound, movement and image material as an online, interactive mapping of the urban sites in question. It is an aim of the proposed research that its findings will be able to contribute directly to the project of revitalisation in the city, not least since such endeavours frequently become ensnared in abstract planning, ignoring such factors as embodied interactions with public space and the ‘felt’, experiential and creative sides of everyday urban living. Uniquely the Sensing the City project will seek to utilise performance-based techniques to arrive at what one might call (social) scientific outcomes. In other words it aims to make use of the presence and movement of the sensitised human body in urban space – drawing on methods ranging from dance-based practices, to employing the film camera as an extension of the body, to walking as performance – in a manner equivalent to the advanced, data-gathering digital sensor typically implemented as smart technology by engineering and the sciences. Its premise as performance is less to perform for an immediate audience in situ – though there will be occasions when this proves appropriate (with commissioned work from artists, for example) – than to engage the body for its capacities to register and convey crucial details relating to the human senses in selected urban contexts. Importantly, as Carl Lavery points out in his prefacing remarks to his ‘ecography’ of Paris, the body here is ‘not synonymous with subjectivity (reflective consciousness), and neither is it contained by the skin; rather it is psychophysical matter, a type of instrument engaged in a logic of
intensities and speeds. To have a body is to be affected, to be open to the flux and flow of anonymous forces, the chaos of molecules’. Thus, he concludes, drawing on the work on aesthetics and atmospheres of the philosopher Gernot Böhme, we can “attempt to capture how the materiality of the
environment impacts on [the body], provoking intangible moods and sensations” (2014: 58).
Specifically the project’s outcomes will seek to draw conclusions about the constitution, character and morphology of urban space by monitoring the instinctive reactions of the body. In other words, it will be centrally concerned, as a symptom of the degree to which cities are changing in the 21st century, to examine the effects on the practices and behaviours of urban dwellers of key features of modern-day urban space, including such factors as: defensible space, retail/consumer space and gated space; the effects of surveillance technologies, motorised traffic and smart phone use; the integration of ‘wild’ as well as ‘domesticated’ nature in urban planning and living. City centres such as that of Coventry, which will serve as the focal point for the research, are changing rapidly in the way they are being used (or are permitted to be used), and there is currently profound uncertainty about their future purpose as significant aspects of new or recent life practices – many of them linked to developments in technologies – are brought to bear. So, for example, online shopping has reduced the need to have centralised retail outlets, above all when it comes to the ubiquitous chain-store, and so the very need for the centre-piece of most, if not all, cities, the shopping mall, is being undermined. Interestingly, it is now those trades and outlets that require the physical presence of the body – cafes/ pubs, tattoo parlours, nail bars – that are more likely to thrive in urban centres. Moreover, widespread CCTV coverage – particularly in the UK, boasting as it does more than the rest of Europe combined – which seems primarily to exist so as to provide security for property and consumer activity, has implications for the way citizens interact with one another in public space, arguably creating a particular ‘climate’ that paradoxically has the effect of generating fear and suspicion rather than alleviating it, and producing an ‘averted gaze’ in members of the public. That is, surveillance mechanisms have arguably ‘stolen’ the human gaze that looks outwards,
makes eye contact with others and takes responsibility for that which takes place in public situations. Such surveillance is also heavily bound up with an escalating tension between public and private space whereby what is taken to be the former often turns out to be the latter (shopping malls, as we know, are not public space and operate their own private security firms). Similarly, the spread of mobile/smart phone use produces ‘distracted’ behaviours; while users may be physically present in a busy public location such as an urban square, effectively their focus is ‘elsewhere’ and, as such, they are prone to inconsiderate, even dangerous movements that impinge adversely on other citizens. Citycity: a Coventry sensography Sensing the City will divide into four micro-projects, led from
the respective perspectives of dance, film, site-specific immersive performance and walking as performance. The last of these, led by me and entitled Citycity, will seek to instigate a series of repeated and durational observational encounters with selected urban sites on foot, using the nine junctions of the problematic ring-road that encircles the city centre as points of departure. The invented notion of Citycity is intended to encapsulate something akin to the feel of a city or that which may be said to constitute a quality of city-ness based on a sensuous response to urban atmospheres, rhythms and textures (in the same way, say, that ‘audacity’ seeks to convey a sense of being audacious). Such urban features are made up of and come about in diverse ways but are dependent on certain obvious common factors relating to the basic interaction of time, space and the movement of bodies, as well as such less apparent nuances as climate, weather, seasons and time of day. The city can be said, then, implicitly to present itself as an aesthetic, affective phenomenon that engages and motivates the senses of the human body in particular ways. As Amin and Thrift put it, the city is “a forcefield of passions that associate and pulse bodies” (2002: 84). Moreover, each urban environment produces its own highly distinct set of atmospherics and behaviours that emerge as a consequence of a complex combination of factors as wideranging as the organisation of a city’s built environment (including the way ‘nature’ is incorporated), historical evolution, demographics, amenities, industries, governance
and so on. Having stated that, it should also be said that such a felt response to the aesthetics of the city tends to be something that is, at best, taken for granted and more usually ignored completely. A phenomenon such as atmosphere is by its nature difficult to pin down as anything other than a vague or implicit ‘sense’, yet it is also something that recognisably exists and should not therefore be dismissed as the source of serious contemplation in appraising the habitability of cities, as Böhme has shown. Coventry has a particularly resonant recent history of mid20th century destruction and erasure after the devastating bombing of the city in 1940, which effaced its medieval origins (including its cathedral), followed by rapidly implemented post-war modernist reconstruction based principally on serving the city’s burgeoning car industry and creating a civicminded, functional city for working citizens. Now, in the early 21st century, the city finds itself again in a transitional moment, poised as it is for a further phase of significant regeneration, this time of its declining post-war infrastructure. This has witnessed a second radical effacement in the form of a car industry that has been rendered almost non-existence owing to a range of socio-economic factors and developments. As such, Coventry offers a plethora of highly intriguing and revealing public sites, often circumscribed or governed by atrophying or neglected instances of functionalist modernist architecture, street furniture and the built environment in general, that were designed and constructed at a time of high local authority investment in an ideal of civic responsibility, democratic participation, welfare provision and social commitment, to say nothing of industrial optimism. The purpose of Citycity is to attempt to be attentive to that which is triggered for the sensitised body by strategically selected locales. The conceptual point of departure for an experience of Coventry in particular is the two-lane ringroad that has encircled its centre since its construction in the period after the end of World War 2. As a medieval cathedral town once surrounded by a ‘defensive’ wall, Coventry’s morphology was in any case concentric, so the post-war construction of the ring-road, after the city’s dramatic flattening by German bombers, maintained the
centre’s essential form. To its credit the much-lauded civic plan for the development of the centre’s built environment after 1945, famously conceived and implemented by the city council’s architecture department under Donald Gibson, incorporated a significantly pedestrianised aspect, but the presence of the ring-road also clearly – and typically for the time – foresaw the use and mobility of the private car as a necessary transportational feature of modern urban living. As a city that staked its post-war identity on the development of a burgeoning car industry, whose success was dependent on more and more ‘never-had-it-so-good’ citizens acquiring its product for private use, it was hardly surprising that Coventry saw it as appropriate to facilitate the attraction of vehicles into the centre of the city. A ring-road, with its nine strategically spaced junctions, seemed like a good way of ensuring easy flow and dispersal. In truth, the ring-road proved to be a poorly conceived, unwieldy structure. With its sudden turn-offs, tight bends and cramped traffic merging designs – seen popularly, and ironically (given this is ‘car town’), as providing an invitation to crash – it is arguably too small and confined in its dimensions to justify itself as a functional necessity. (The city centre is but a good kilometre in diameter and can be crossed in approximately ten minutes on foot.) Moreover, with its brutalist concrete design and predominantly raised structure, which means its grey, darkening underbelly effectively looms over large parts of the centre’s immediate perimeter, it easily takes on the aspect of an oppressive carbuncle that strangulates the city centre, arguably rendering the cultivation of humane urban living an impossibility. In the meantime, of course, the car industry in Coventry has been reduced to almost nothing for a range of complex socio-economic reasons, and so even the ring-road’s symbolic raison d’etre, as a form of architectural celebration befitting of a burgeoning ‘motor city’, has disappeared too. Instead it stands now as a sad testament to a misconceived 20th century fantasy of the private car as the solution to mobility in small cities. The ring-road’s symbolic obsolescence aside, Citycity will also focus on its phenomenological presence as a brutal(ist) structure. In particular, it will adopt as its paradigmatic point of departure, first, the fact that it is in itself inaccessible for
the pedestrian, yet it occupies a prime position within the built environment of the city centre (even riding a bike round it – strictly allowable – would be taking your life into your own hands). And, second, that it represents a form of barrier in the mental image that the pedestrian-citizen has of the city, rudely blocking the way between the outlying residential areas surrounding it and the civic centre, which, in an era of internet shopping, increasingly struggles to sustain its purpose as a functioning public location. In the same way as Walter Benjamin saw the 19th century metropolitan arcade, with its apparent order, pragmatism and promises of the fulfilment of urban dwellers’ desires, as being effectively in radical decline – the epitome of the transiency and inherent ‘will to decay’ of a ‘phantasmagorical capitalism’ – so the Coventry ring-road represents a mistaken 20th century investment in a dehumanising ‘cars and concrete’ policy of urban living. As such, its nine junctions will be seen here as structural disjunctions, as actual and figurative points from which the pedestrian is physically repelled or dislocated, spinning off to alternative spaces in search of a humanising experience or, indeed, of ‘finding a voice’: as a trope, being sent to Coventry implies being rendered mute or being ostracised, thus, in its capacity as an architectural paradigm of the city, the ring-road, much like the anodyne M25 of Iain Sinclair’s portrayal in London Orbital, points towards a form of condemnation to endless and anaesthetised circulation that leaves one ‘speechless’. The nine sites of displacement will include key Coventry locales such as the old and new cathedrals, the War Memorial Park, IKEA, Coventry Station and London Road Cemetery. In each case the presence of the human body as a form of sensor or receptor will be implemented in a range of methodological ways from spending extended periods of time deliberately loitering, observing and walking, to repeated visits at different times of day and in differing seasons. In this preliminary rawdata-gathering phase, the body’s sensorium, still photography and note-taking will function as primary tools in the tracking and capturing of atmosphere, rhythms, and objects in space, the city effectively being framed as an ‘affective archive’ that acts on the body. As Nicolas Bourriaud suggests, capturing a city means following its movement, adding that wandering
represents a form of enquiry into the city: “It is writing on the move and a critique of the urban, understood as the matrix of the scenarios in which we move” (2009: 100). While de Certeau’s
influence in establishing that walking can be seen as a way of performing the city has been widely referenced, Lavery has highlighted the ‘less remarked upon’ way that “textures
and surfaces of the city perform on the body and produce a type of embodied writing that is sensate and sensitive to fleeting moods, and floating perceptions” (2014: 62). Importantly,
Citycity’s focus will be on the non-representational, referring to that which cannot easily be assigned cognitive meaning or signifying sense but that operates more in the realm of sensuous experience or a ‘logic of intensities’. Following from the fieldwork, the micro-project will shift to a data processing phase in which the nine sites-as-disjunctions will effectively be replicated as topographical assemblages, effectively creating in sum their own, off-kilter ‘cartographic ring’ as a felt evocation of the city. Thus, making use of still photographs and documented notes, the gathered material will be translated into a performative text-and-image sitemontage consciously based on a sensitivity to rhythm, texture and atmosphere. Visual imagery will be utilised to evoke space and form, while text will privilege that which writing can suggest structurally and materially rather than semantically. This sensography will be presented and expanded into a 3D visualisation online as part of a larger Sensing the City mapping of Coventry that can be navigated in an infinite number of ways by the user, as well as a smartphone app that invites users to submit to a similarly sensuous exploration of urban locations.
References: 1. Amin, Ash and Nigel Thrift (2002) Cities: Reimagining the Urban, Cambridge: Polity Press. 2. Bourriaud, Nicolas (2009) The Radicant, trans. J. Gussen and L. Porten, New York: Lukas and Steinberg. 3. Lavery, Carl (2014) ‘Performing Paris: an Ecography of Meridians and Atmospheres’, Performing Cities, ed. N. Whybrow, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.56-79. ©NICOLAS WHYBROW
Walking, Writing and Performance: Phil Smith’s Parallel Cities Roberta Mock Professor of Performance Studies & Director of The Arts Institute, Plymouth University
“Seek out the parallel city. Follow animal tracks. Walk only in back alleys and sunken lanes. On major thoroughfares, walk off sideways looking for hidden routes running parallel to the official ones. Map the meshwork of your shadow city and share.” Phil Smith, The Footbook of Zombie Walking, 2015
In Theatre & the City, Jen Harvie argues that theatre “does more than demonstrate urban process” (2009: 7). Rather, “theatre is a part of urban processes, producing urban experience and thereby producing the city itself” in at least three different
ways: through dramatic texts, material conditions and performative practices. My essay in this volume is essentially about the interactions between these three processes – which each combine doing, experiencing, and making – and revolves around a performative practice that, as Harvie notes, demonstrates the political vigour of contemporary urban performance: the “performance walk”. It focuses on the work of Phil Smith, one of the UK’s leading (as well as most prolific and mischievous) practitioners of ambulatory performance, both as a solo practitioner and as one of the four founding members of Wrights & Sites.
Wrights & Sites is a collective formed in 1997 that explores the relationships between space, place and people, usually by encouraging walking and personal reflection. Their Manifesto for a New Walking Culture, performed in 2006, is a typical call to arms (or rather, to feet). Subtitled Dealing with the City and organised around the visual metaphor of a shuffled deck of playing cards, the text revolves around the walker as playful performer, as artist, as compositional catalyst, as designer and as writer of the city. The 2 of spades, for instance, recommends walking “as a constant experiment to discover the
intricacies and individuality of your walk that is as distinctive as your handwriting.”
A few years earlier, in 2003, Wrights & Sites published An Exeter Mis-Guide, an evocatively illustrated pocket-sized antiguidebook that suggests different activities, walking routes and perspectives to inspire those who live in or visit this small city in South West England. The instructions urge the reader to merge materiality, history and imagination; to observe closely; to be spontaneous; to be part of the world. Here’s a good example: “Visit the following set of roads: George Street, Market Street, Smythen Street, King Street & Preston Street... The road signs will tell you that there is only ‘one way’ to navigate each area. Find other ways of mapping and signing routes through these public spaces.” (Wrights & Sites, 2003: 46)
The walks that Wrights & Sites propose are meant to be creative, thought-provoking and quietly but deeply radical. To their surprise, the Exeter Mis-Guide became something of a cult phenomenon. They began to notice that, “Somehow a lot of people are managing to be interested in a book about a city
A Filmed Walk â–ª 2012
that they will probably never even visit: they seem to be finding ways of transferring the specific to the general, or at least to another specific context.” (Wrights & Sites, 2004).
As a result, they were invited to mis-guide people in other locations and eventually they produced a second little book entitled A Mis-Guide to Anywhere (2006). Its title embraces the problems and paradoxes of an exercise in mapping an individual place onto the concept of a generic “anywhere”. These issues can never be fully resolved, nor should they be. I lived in Exeter for 15 years, and I certainly cherish the misguide to what was once my home, more than I do the misguide to “anywhere”. The irony, of course, is twofold: first, at that time, Exeter and Anywhere were one and the same for me; and, secondly, some of the Exeter in the original MisGuide is no longer there (or anywhere) due to subsequent extensive redevelopment of the city centre. I am therefore now only able to revisit parts of the city by walking it in my imagination, which I do with the aid of Wrights & Site’s written prompts. 98
I first collaborated with Phil Smith to produce a book entitled Walking, Writing and Performance, with Carl Lavery and Dee Heddon, in 2009. Our collection comprises four autobiographical theatre scripts, one each by Carl and Dee and two by Phil, plus an essay by each that describes the processes of making them as well as their historical and theoretical groundings. All three generated their autobiographical scripts by engaging with the fluid relationships between specific places. For Dee, Carl and Phil – all in very different ways – the acts of walking, remembering and writing, and thus the construction of narrative self and performance spaces, were intimately related and this is what they tried to translate into a more formally structured theatrical language and dramaturgy. All of the texts in the book, whether theatre script or essay, explore how material spaces might provoke an understanding of both who we are as individuals and what we have in common. Simultaneously, they attempt to articulate the precariousness of common space, which is produced through our highly personal engagements with it. The formal, usually written,
expressions of these engagements have been called different things, including autotopography, geobiography and topobiography (Arlander, 2012). Taking Dee Heddon’s lead, I tend to use the first one. Autotopography describes a practice that plots one’s conception of self in relation to place as well as a sense of place in relation to one’s self identity. Adding “auto” to “topography” is to acknowledge and expose the fact that the writing of place is as much “a creative act of interpretation, of perspective and of location” as the “writing of self”. Both are “contingent, shifting, and always ‘becoming’” (Heddon, 2009: 162). The geographer, Doreen Massey, offers a conception of space that is performative, interrelational, multiple and always under construction. In For Space, she describes it as “the dimension of multiple trajectories, a simultaneity of storiesso-far” (2005: 24). Similarly, according to the performance-
maker and theorist, Mike Pearson:
“Just as landscapes are constructed out of the imbricated actions and experiences of people, so people are constructed in and dispersed through their habituated landscape: each individual, significantly, has a particular set of possibilities in presenting an account of their own landscape: stories.” (Pearson, 2006: 12)
In Phil’s two performance scripts for Writing, Walking and Performance, his storying is mapped like the physical movement that inspired them. The four weeks of walking that informed the first, Crab Walks, took place across the villages, towns and coastal paths of South Devon, in order to connect with memories of staying with his grandparents as a child. The second, Crab Steps Aside, swoops across the UK and mainland Europe, indiscriminately taking in cities, beaches, towns, fields and waterways as Phil draws on an eclectic mix of walks he made in the Channel Islands, Switzerland, Italy, Munich and then around South Devon villages once again. Crab walking: back and forth between performance and theatre
Phil’s various, eventually theatricalised, walks took place over an extended period of time in a variety of locations, stopping and starting, resisting predetermined routes by scuttling sideways and following his instincts by moving “like a crab”.
This “crab walking” is “not going on a ramble, but taking the ramble on a ramble.” It is “led by its periphery” and is not a million miles away from the situationist “dérives” or “drifts” theorised by Guy Debord. To Phil, drifting is a “spontaneous
and playful travelling and research through cities, seeking out those spaces where ambience resists the imperatives and spectacle of capital; seeking through a process of détournement to make ‘situations’” (Smith, 2009: 83).
Phil performed his two Crab plays to intimate audiences in unusual venues across South Devon. I watched Crab Walks in a beach hut in Teignmouth with four other people and Crab Steps Aside on top of a cliff with only one other person. Neither of these venues made his performance less than “theatre”, though, in a very formal sense. And this is significant since, although he is a playwright and dramaturg (over 120 of his plays have had professional productions), at the start of Phil’s essay in Walking, Writing and Performance, he notes how he had been concentrating his effort, especially via Wrights & Sites, on freeing himself from “the limitations of the theatre.” He was referring to the use of landscape as backdrop or scenery, rather than allowing a site to resonate and perform itself, in so-called site-specific productions. However, there is also a hint here that a schism needs to be reconciled between performance – that is, the generic production of communicative events within the specificities of time and space, such as guided tours and walks, protests and high profile interventions – and theatre, a more formally bounded space in which actuality and metaphor comingle in specifically structured aesthetic ways. Underlying this is a widely-shared assumption that performance – even performance that plays with and revolves around a heightened theatricality – does the politically resistant work that theatrical representation is unable to manage. Phil’s Crab plays strike me as an attempt to bridge performance and theatre practices, through and as theatre, primarily by harnessing the autotopographical. As Nicholas Ridout has argued (in a different but related sense), “performance [is] that
which allows us to see theatre as itself, by showing it turning itself inside out and revealing its operational guts” (2006: 13).
Walking is, for Phil, an anti-theatrical performance tactic, the operational guts that can be revealed paradoxically through
theatre. The overarching aim of Phil’s Crab project was to pass on an invitation to explore. He was never particularly interested in creating a “true” or “real” sense of himself through the narrative. Rather, through a mythologising self-presentation based on his own experiences of recovering childhood memories through walking, Phil’s performances were meant to convey the impetus of a journey, the leaps of a dream, and to provoke his audience’s own reveries. Dee Heddon describes this type of practice – linking personal, cultural and collective memories – as “extroverted” (2009: 168). Mythogeography
The Crab plays were a calling card for what Phil calls “mythogeography”, a concept which arose first with Wrights & Sites and culminated in his book, Mythogeography, published in 2010. Used both tactically and as self-parody, it is a term that describes a process whereby through walking and journeying, one is able to create complex impressions of the world and re-make its meanings by choosing oblique angles of trajectory. Drawing upon a wide range of ambulatory practices (including dérives; secular pilgrimage; exploratory, therapeutic and extreme walking; and walking as art), mythogeography advocates a self-conscious exploratory walking that encourages a heightened sensitivity to space; a celebration of eventness that includes engagements with others; and a pace and flexibility that is able to switch quickly from wayfinding to extreme attention to detail. For Phil, mythogeography refers to an ever-evolving set of performance, performative and critical practices that attempt to do four things: • It seeks to transform space by performing it. This is informed by the idea that places are made and re-made by what is done there in the everyday, and that therefore the radical changing of those places can be achieved through interventions in their everyday life. • It tries to develop ways of perceiving and understanding the multiple meanings of any place (and to widely promote such understanding). • It works to develop the means to produce places understood
through multiplicity. • It entangles theories of space and the spatialisation of theory with performance and performative tactics in order to develop a strategy for resistance to restrictive and homogenising spatial practices. Mythogeography, the book (written under Phil’s nom de plume, The Crab Man), is intended as a ‘toolkit’ of praxes for the general reader. Through a deliberately chaotic jumble of philosophical ideas, critical models and practical options to support democratic activism through walking, it attempts to dislodge understandings of psychogeography from what Phil considers its stranglehold by professional literary production (as exemplified by Will Self, Ian Sinclair, Peter Ackroyd and even, to some extent, himself).
Woven between the sheets of Mythogeography’s extraordinary textual path- and by-ways, is the account of a walk Phil made over seventeen days in 2007, which served as the basis of his one-person show, In Search of Pontiflunk, the following year. The walk followed the journey of a Manchester engineer, Charles Hurst, searching for the oak tree survivals of the acorns Hurst had planted one hundred years earlier (Pontiflunk was the name of Hurst’s dog). Fiona Wilkie has noted how, in the playtext, Phil’s project is conceived with a sense of responsibility for the future of the planet and, as such, in defiance of other modes of transport. He meditates on “what our mobility makes us, on how transport no longer moves us, but misplaces us” (Wilkie, 2015: 29). The entries about this walk in Mythogeography demonstrate how, for Phil, over-explaining events and perceiving organised patterns are a means to accumulate a place’s multiple meanings, countering its dominant ideological construction by paying close attention to textures, signs and symbols. Touring Sardine Street
In 2011, Phil made A Tour of Sardine Street with Simon Persighetti (a fellow member of Wrights & Sites), the performance culmination of the close exploration over a three year period of a single thoroughfare (Queen Street in Exeter). At the time, Phil described himself and Simon as “provocateurs” and “performative explorers” who are “both
pedestrians and also performers”. They used specific physical methods while repeatedly walking the street including extreme slowness, sensual contact with site (for example, testing the smoothed and greasy mark between the 11th century date on a plaque), and carrying objects that would draw other people to them to “tell” the street in their own way. The resulting two-hour mis-guided tour drew upon the extended immersive development period (for instance, in its identification and use of everyday objects as “relics” of the street), in order to explore the multiple layering of artefacts, rhythms, narratives, character and personae. The tour also led to the publication of A Sardine Street Box of Tricks (2012) which both documents the performance and
acts as a “how to” guide for others who want to create misguided tours. Set within the narrative of the making of A Tour of Sardine Street, the book discusses how to choose a site, engaging in exploratory tasks and immersive investigation, and using performance as means to ethnographic research. The project as a whole seems to exemplify the ways in which bodies and cities are mutually constituting. As “the site for the body’s cultural saturation”, the city is “the place where the
body is representationally reexplored, transformed, contested, reinscribed. In turn,” writes the philosopher Elizabeth Grosz, “the body (as cultural product) transforms, reinscribes the urban landscape” (1998: 35).
Simultaneously, Sardine Street is exemplary of Phil Smith’s strategy as a performance-maker who moves between modes of writing, communicating, collaborating and dispersal. The performative walking, Phil advocates, is consciously constructed by its walkers, finding the extraordinary in the everyday, and improvising narratives in order to experience the city in ways at odds with the intentions of its planners, police and entrepreneurs. His mixing of esoterica and science, anger and whimsy, popular culture and “serious” art, nostalgia and utopian vision is intended to act as an encouragement to “drift” (physically and theoretically) and, through individual and collective walking and place-making, to overcome and transform institutionalised functionalism, conformity and passive spectatorship.
GeoQuest ▪ 2010
references: 1. Arlander, Annette (2012) “Performing Landscape as Autotopographical Exercise,” Contemporary Theatre Review, 22(2), 251-258. 2. Grosz, Elizabeth (1998) “Bodies-cities” in Heidi J. Nast and Steve Pile (eds), Places through the body. London: Routledge. 3. Harvie, Jen (2009) Theatre & the City. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 4. Heddon, Deirdre (2009) “One Square Foot: Thousands of Routes,” in Roberta Mock (ed), Walking, Writing and Performance. Bristol: Intellect. 5. Massey, Doreen (2005) For Space. London: Sage. 6. Pearson, Mike (2006) ‘In Comes I’: Performance, Memory and Landscape. Exeter: Exeter University Press. 7. Ridout, Nicholas (2006) Stage Fright, Animals, and Other Theatrical Problems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 8. Smith, Phil (2009) “Crab Walking and Mythogeography,” in Roberta Mock (ed), Walking, Writing and Performance. Bristol:
Intellect. 9. Smith, Phil (2010) Mythogeography. Axminster: Triarchy Press. 10. Smith, Phil (2015) The Footbook of Zombie Walking. Axminster: Triarchy Press. 11. Smith, Phil and Simon Persighetti [as Crab Man and Sign Post] (2012) A Sardine Street Box of Tricks. Axminster: Triarchy Press. 12. Wilkie, Fiona (2015) Performance, Transport and Mobility: Making Passage. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 13. Wrights & Sites (2003) An Exeter Mis-Guide. Exeter: Wrights & Sites. 14. Wrights & Sites (2004) “Mis-guiding the City Walker,” paper presented at Cities for People: The Fifth International Conference on Walking in the 21st Century, Copenhagen [online] http://www.mis-guide.com/ws/documents/citywalker. html 15. Wrights & Sites (2006) “A Manifesto for a New Walking Culture: ‘Dealing with the city’”, Performance Research, 11(2), pp. 115122.
Ascending Descending ▪ london ▪ 2013
theses on urban art intervention
an intervention into society” (WochenKlauser). In this sense,
3. As well as being a social practice, interventionist art is a spatial practice that often appropriates and subverts the physical aspects of the built environment, provoking dialogue with architecture, urbanism and activism. The interventionist also shares new tools with and borrows from other creative practices involved in the transformation of the urban everyday as we observe the adoption by activists of techniques and practices from “art” and the migration of artists into the “movement of movements”.
Conceptual artist, Liverpool
1. In growing numbers, artists are choosing to engage their work through the space of the city. As Hamburg-based artist collective Park Fiction once put it, “desires will leave the house and take to the streets,” and they continue to do so, in unexpected places, in ever-curious ways and in forms unrecognisable as art. At the forefront of this creative action within everyday urban life are traces of the interventionist artist whose creative energies are redirected away from the privileged and enclosed sphere of the art world to claim the space of the city as vital subject and material for an experimental art praxis. In doing, they are developing new tools, contexts, and inventive methods of engaging the practice of artists in the processes of urbanisation. 2. “Artistic creativity is no longer seen as a formal act but as
intervention is a process of action that signals a shift in attitude and position to one’s own environment, from passive consumer to active agent, from ignorance to awareness.
4. In different spaces and situations across the world, art’s alignment with social movements and engagement with major political events is part of rethinking cities from the bottom-up, a do-it-yourself mentality that links the practice of the self-directed artist to citizen-led transformations of everyday life. In doing so, these practices problematise the erosion of the public sphere by private and commercial interests and offer practical steps to reclaiming the right to the city.
5. The shift in critical art practices towards struggles over space follows the turn towards participation in new forms of self-organisation, self-building, citizen journalism and other forms of ‘history from below’ that denotes the ‘user-created city’.
critical practice - also suggests specific tactics and tools, methods and techniques. In this sense, it differs from more formal definitions and official positions of participatory art or collaborative practice in describing a more informal, unofficial, self-directed position.
6. Art interventionism encompasses an interdisciplinary set of practices that traverse the social, spatial, political, economic, environmental and developmental aspects and concerns of society. The plurality and heterogeneity of points of insertion, disruption, intervention and participation destabilise casual attempts at categorisation and definition.
11. The Interventionist, whose approach to art making establishes its own rules of engagement, eludes easy categorisation: as contented to work in the viral spaces of mass culture as the clandestine operations of subversive provocation, without face or name.
7. ‘Intervention’ suggests an action, a critical gesture, a performed response: to intervene in a situation, site, a moment or process. Meanwhile in urbanism and architecture, intervention often denotes an experimental, tactical, sometimes spontaneous, do-it-yourself approach to reinventing urban space; a self-initiated response to collective responsibility for the spaces of everyday life. Elsewhere, the notion of interventionism has wider currency in the strategic manipulations of the economy and the political actions of the state: foreign intervention, finance intervention, policy intervention, military intervention and so on. 8. As an art practice, interventionism may involve playful responses, critical actions or political commentaries, which in various ways insert themselves into the urban fabric to produce social spaces, demand public attention and challenge the accepted rules and social codes governing behaviour. 9. Interventionism can be seen as an alternative engagement with the city and the creative processes of the production of space. Thus, in a spatial turn towards the user-generated city, artists must borrow skills and tools from other disciplines; likewise architects, designers, planners, activists and community organisers borrow the aesthetic and communicative techniques of the interventionist artist in an explosion of new ways of thinking about the urban project. 10. Beyond the consideration of medium, context and process, interventionism - as an active, contrarian, and
12. Intervention is a practice associated with both activist and political art, whose distinction is described by Lucy Lippard (1984, p.349) in which “political art” tends to be socially concerned and “activist” art tends to be socially involved. More specifically, intervention is a situated practice, and interventionist artists, like community artists, “vary in degrees of politicisation”, in which “some community art reflects its local situation, some stimulates active participation in its situation, and some criticises and mobilises for change in that situation” (ibid). 13. The heterogeneity of practice, the multiplicity of contingent responses and a commitment to an open-ended process suggest intervention as a term and denote an adopted position to society, not primarily as a new genre, nor type of art but rather as a process of generating critical dialogue. 14. Interventionism largely rejects the idea that commodification and commercialisation of social spaces and relations must be non-dialogical - as the inevitability of a globalised economy imposed with a “mask of necessity,” which “abolishes reflective commentary” and suppresses alternatives (Miles, 2004, p.228). Interventionism as a response to existing phenomena is better understood as a dialogical practice that poses alternatives to the hegemonic position in an already antagonistic field (Sholette, 2005). 15. The uncertainty of the term ‘intervention’ stems from a chameleonic, adaptive, contingent, tactical and trickster like approach to a given context. Thus interventionism is a liminal
praxis, moving between disciplines as it borrows, trades, and steals if it has to, the diverse art (and non-art) tools, terms and methods, which the interventionists modify and turn to their own ends. It is therefore a hybrid practice, which begins to define itself not just in opposition to neoliberal globalisation - as anti-institutional or anti-capitalist art - but by the way it trespasses on the spaces of everyday life and quotidian actions, disrupting the social, spatial and economic hierarchies and power structures to provoke the unexpected response. 16. Today’s interventionist practices, propagating and proliferating in cities across the globe, have unwittingly taken up the Situationist mantle, breaking laws that prevent and suppress the emergence of alternatives to the Society of the Spectacle and the dominant ideology of neoliberalism. 17. To trespass is to break the borders of the regulatory systems of control, inclusion and exclusion - to reclaim the right to the city (Lefebvre). 104
18. To “intervene” unofficially in the sites and situations of the urban everyday is to encourage transformation of the urban environment through small gestures of creativity and small acts of resistance that challenge, overhaul, disrupt or bring about change in the established order. 19. To these ends, urban interventionism might be thought of as a counter-practice or an ‘antidiscipline’ (de Certeau, 1984), one that temporarily reclaims our everyday spaces from the domination of commodity and state apparatuses to present an alternative set of social relations in a re-articulation of space. 20. As a challenge to existing structures of power relations in a society of control, “counter-hegemonic interventions” as described by Chantal Mouffe (2008, non-paginated) are a form of social critique through practice, which for Foucault are “criticisms as a practice of resistance”. 21. In the context of an experimental art praxis, a counterhegemonic intervention is suggestive of something that is
self-determined by an individual or group, concerned with the idea of radical social change; which establishes an alternative or counter-discourse driven from within cultural-political hegemony acting upon such a system. Often marginal, and sometimes autonomous, such interventions tend towards the ‘unofficial’ or ‘un-permissioned’ action. 22. The unofficial praxis of art intervention often takes place in the margins of the official city, in the “cracks of the dominant society” (Miles, 2004, p.20) where it can exploit gaps in formal regulation and control. 23. Rather than interventionism appearing as a dichotomy between the official and unofficial, it creates a tension that negotiates the formal-informal relation, repositioning the liminal as a territory of opportunity and experimentation. The tactical practitioner therefore often uses the informal as a space to operate, beyond regulation. 24. Due to uncertainty about the value and validity of critical interventionist art practices, which challenge the urbanisation of hegemony, it is necessary to rethink intervention, from not just within dominant critical frames of contemporary art, but also outside them. 25. Critical art interventions raise specific political challenges, questioning how social relations and the spatialities of the urban everyday are shaped and organised. These challenges to how we construct, imagine, implement and organise the city raise questions about the institutional tendencies of art discourse and of urban and spatial theory (Pinder, 2008; Loftus, 2009). 26. Whilst many artists utilise vacant buildings, abandoned or unclaimed structures, urban voids and wastelands as spaces for experimentation, others target highly regulated and organised public spaces, challenging their political, ethical and democratic realities. 27. The administered and strategic city lays down its thesis, and everywhere the clues and traces of its antitheses...
Marx by Twilight ▪ london ▪ 2013
An enemy of architecture asbjørn skou Visual artist, Copenhagen
1. What is the Terrain Vague? The term itself has been stretched to hold many things –usually places like a vacant lot, post-industrial wasteland, barren and unused space in and around the city. 106
An invisible or liminal space, a threshold. The term, which etymologically relates to the words land or territory as well as vacant, vagrant, vague or wave (as in the sea, or fluctuation), covers something relatively undefinable, and ultimately it is the very indefinability of these types of spaces that sets them off from the rest of our urban fixtures, in-determinability in identity as in organisation. In some cases the term has been used to describe a border zone at the edge of the city, a transitory space between the urban and the rural. A site for the setting of debris, refuse, carnivals, circuses and other nomadic travellers. With the contemporary urban sprawl and city development, such a clear border could hardly be said to exist today, rather the vague terrain has been integrated into the fabric of the city as ambiguously open and closed zones of seemingly vacant, discarded, forgotten or unusable space. Space internal to the city, yet external to its everyday life. 2. The general discourse concerning the vague terrain is usually polarised into two points. The first decries the disorder they represent in the city. It perceives the vacant indeterminate zones that punctuate the urban landscape as representations of unacceptable socio-economic
deterioration and abandonment. The vague terrain runs contrary to the desired image of the functional and prosperous city. It presents a problem. For those who hold the second view, the vague terrain offers a counterpoint to the way order and consumption holds sway over the city. It offers room for spontaneous creative appropriation and informal use that would otherwise have trouble finding a place in the public spaces subjected increasingly to the demands of commerce. The vague terrain is here an ideal place for a certain kind of resistance to emerge, and perhaps even an example of such a resistance, it presents a different way of experiencing the city. These two antagonistic views are limited, each in its own way, by a degree of idealism. The vague terrain may well symbolise economic stagnation that does not correspond with the ideal of a functional city, but this is reductionist at best. It may also be seen as a territory of emancipation, but only with the risk of wallowing in a romantic vision with a certain disconnection to reality. But if we attempt to view the vague terrain as material, as a form of discourse, as a geography, substance, image and process, we may go beyond both of these views and into a field of a more multi-layered perception of these kinds of spaces. One where we can possibly expand our existing vocabulary towards another kind of urban discourse. A more divers understanding of these spaces and their connotations. 3. The social, symbolic and formal qualities of these spaces are in opposition to the stringent order of planning ruling the city around them. They are zones of temporary “un-planning” existing within the planned, and vice versa. Like other zones, they have a perimeter and a geography, a place in space and time, but they are imbued with qualities
an enemy of architecture ▪ refshaleøen ▪ METROPOLIS laboratory 2014
that warps all of this. These zones in the city have something alien about them, something that is a sum of their material and topographic properties, but which also goes beyond this – something placed between the real and imaginary, something mythical. The zone cannot be understood from the outside, from its mere physical properties, but it is also not completely understood from inside, from its processual properties. It is part of a surrounding system, yet also torn lose from this at several levels. There is most often a threshold, a perimeter, a barrier you have to cross, almost as a rite of passage. After that you are lost, off the map. No longer walking in accordance to the rhythm of the known and functional signs of the city. The city that the zone makes real or realer, just as the city makes the zone feel uncanny. The zones are not just “in” time and space. Rather they “time” and they “space”. They produce a special kind of time and space, inside and outside of them, like a porous membrane.
They are clearly and indisputably there, at hand, but always in-determinable, imprecise, uncertain. Despite the fact that these geographies are often sealed off from view and entry, they are somehow without the normal limits of the functional geographies of the city we live through. They have in them a temporal stagnation and mobility, a conflation of past, present and future, they are palimpsest space – a synthesis of liberated time. Spaces of promise and expectation. 4. From the formal neglect and collapse of these spaces, new meanings of objects can arise. In no other place in the city, except for perhaps the building site, are provisional overgrowths, stackings, hoardings, leanings and pilings of materials and objects accepted. They are the formal and physical equivalent of a psychological repression or displacement – littered with layers of micro-processes, forming an Anthropocene stratum. Garbage, surplus material, personal artefacts, and collective debris clutter these kinds of grounds and are absorbed into their ecosystems. When looking at these collections of objects and artefacts through a para-archaeological scope, they become reminders of a city constructed over time, of time, but constructions taking place elsewhere. A city produced as much by actual materials as by their absence – as memories and remnants. An instantaneous
process of sedimentation in the actual and mental city. Everything that happens here does so on uncertain grounds as authorship, organisation and purpose are usually impossible to pin down. These are spaces where meaning has been temporarily dispensed or dispersed, but also spaces where meaning is constantly in the making, however latent and staggering. In this openness of time, form and possibilities, they are areas steeped in utopian qualities. Yet they are there, now, before us and not in that unobtainable “other place”. But perhaps parts of them are. 5. These types of sites are characterised by a temporary loss of place. An interrupted process of the legitimised place-making of planners and governments. A space which can either be temporarily ignored, semi-used or obstructed so as to limit its use as much as possible. But also a space which, as much as it is anchored in a localised history and geography, holds a set of global similarities, a vocabulary of materials and codes of neglectedness – which turns it into a non-place. But unlike the non-places that Marc Auge describes, like airport terminals, banks and hotels, which are removed from a place experience due to their total order, it is the disorder and disarray of these spaces that link them together as sites plunged out of the category of understandable places and into a metaphorical omnipresent interzone. A space of inbetweenness, of time, as a form of transitory blank points on the map and in the mind. The loss of place always creates a certain uneasiness. In a general sense, space is a point of departure for generating place, and place is a point of departure for generating meaning. Place experience is ultimately the foundation of our tangible understanding of the material world. A place to put things, places into which we situate ourselves. Places are perhaps the very fix points of the self. When we lose these fixtures, we are left with a state of crisis. A fundamental crisis of time and space, embedded in each other and normally managed (or enhanced) through an ideology of effectiveness, growth and the progress of progress – a fixing and enclosure or space within order and rationality. The vague terrain is a blind field of perhaps strategic invisibility to this ideology. In the urban economic and political field,
they can both be viewed as strong and weak points in being target for, submitted to and resisting capitalisation. They are open to, or effects of, economic speculation or downturn. They exist as the margins of the system of urban planning, constantly reappearing as stubbornly un-incorporable elements. Places left outside the city’s effective circuits and productive structures. They are interior islands, mentally exterior in the physical city. Both inside and outside of the urban dynamic. Uninhabited, unsafe, unproductive. 6. In this they appear as a negative image, as much in a sense of criticism as in that of a possibly subversive alternative to the algorithmitised and planned city. In our position, as ambiguously internal and external to the urban system, to power, to activity, to architecture, these spaces constitute at one and the same time a physical expression of our fear and insecurity and yet also expectancy of the other – the alternative, the utopian, the future. As a container for the unknown and uncertain, they hold a promise and potential as temporary autonomous zones, despite the fact that this is something made illusory by economic and governmental powers. But temporarily these spaces can act as mental signifiers for utopian and autonomous desires. As wormholes or devices for teleportation to a momentary outside of the paradigm of planning and order. A space where new maps for the vagaries of utopian thought can be drawn. 7. The insecure, immeasurable and non-functional turn into certain mental geometries, conditions and connotations. The perforation of the urban fabric becomes a cognitive imprint. The absence of apparent order and organisation of these places come to embody our common fears and anxieties as well as our expectancies and desires for something new, a potential about to take form. This age of increasing acceleration, in technology, media, science, economy, globalisation, customs and realities, inevitably produces a situation of permanent estrangement between the subject and the world. An epoch of strangeness before the world.
With the dual capacity as place and non-place, problem and possibility, and through the halted and altered temporality, the vague terrains become territorial indications of this strangeness itself. Or anti-monuments to its conditioning. If we should attempt to perceive the blinding presence of the city as that which is conscious, on a collective level, then these areas, existing always on the fringe even when geographically centred, are gateways or power-spots (to use an occultist term) to an urban subconscious. A commonly shared anguish and longing. As a blind-field with a potential as dialectical image. They are a potential dent or rift in the veneer of urban reason, exposing a multi-layered and mythical chaos below. So as much as the vague terrain can be seen as a blight on or wound in the urban body, it can also be a refuge when that same urban body offers us a crushing homogeneity, an anguished aggression of technological reason, of telematic universalism, cybernetic totalitarianism, freedom under control. The enthusiasm that these vacant, expectant, imprecise, fluctuating spaces can evoke is a response to our strangeness before the world, before our city, before our selves. 8. As much as the vacant and undefined space carries a feeling of uncanniness and anxiety, the presence of architecture, or even the image of architecture, can transport a feeling of safety. It signifies an order of things, and the complexity of the architectural endeavour assures us that there is a Plan, a promise of a tomorrow, a future. In a sense, architecture itself is always about the future. When architects come with a proposition, they always imagine that it will take place in an – imagined – future. Assuming that this future will be better, partly due to this creation. Architecture is essentially utopian. But the problem with the future promised through the image of architecture is that it is fixed, stabilised, articulated. The promise of the empty space calls us to be participants in the utopia, to dream ourselves, individually, of what the future might be. The image of architecture makes us consumers of the utopian idea of someone else. In our late-modern cities dominated by the axiomatic power of capitalism and the state, there are certain conditions and agendas inseparable
from architecture. Even when architecture resists an explicit political agenda, if this is ever possible, it is driven by idealist/formalist agendas. Based on dubious, statistical data models and facilitated by the shape making potential of new computer based design tools. All of this funded by speculative finance and predicated by consumerism and the rather dubious concept of the free market.
Contemporary culture has put its faith in an ideology of progress. Progress will make things better! As well as making things faster and smaller, or bigger, depending on the value system. The future is driven forth by our faith in the drive. But what happens when this faith fails to ring true in the light of economic downturn, ecological catastrophes, rising fear of terrorism, crime and global pandemics? When the bright shiny future can no longer be guaranteed, we will perhaps be faced with a longing for the open, for the unknown, for the possible or impossible. Nostalgia for the future, even though futurism would seem like a rather peculiar ambition today. If there is one thing we know it is that the world as we know it is not going to last. 9. But as much as architecture can be regarded as a utopian endeavour as it suggests future solutions to current problems, or alternate futures altogether, it also poses a problem as the destiny of architecture is always one of colonisation. Of the imposing of limits, order and form. When entering the estranged space of the vague terrain, it will always desire to introduce these elements, to make it recognisable, identical, functional and efficient. At its very core, architecture is an instrument of organisation, of rationalisation, of producing efficiency. A desire for turning the uncivilised into the cultivated, the fallow into the productive, the void into the built. In this way, when architecture and urban design project these desires into a vacant space, it seems that they are incapable of doing anything other than introducing radical transformations, attempting to turn estrangement into citizenship, and striving at all costs to dissolve away the magic of the obsolete in the realism of efficiency. The question is if architecture can in any way engage the vague terrain without
becoming an aggressive instrument of power and abstract reason? If the two cannot coexist, the question arises whether the Terrain Vague can then be considered an altogether opposition, an enemy of architecture? 10. The changing nature of our cities is also changing the way we have to regard the vague terrain and where we have to look for it. It seems to me that we must expand its potential form and meanings. Perhaps we should be regarding the vague terrain as something that is not just a physically urban phenomenon, but a field of studies, a mode of work, a vague practise. A practise that does not limit itself to an engagement in urban collapse, but one which can be introduced into all manners of unstable spaces. A practice of vague spaces that can be made mobile, dialectic, with the potential to be introduced into other systems such as the institution, the archive and data-networks of all kinds. The search for or production of the vague terrain in these other types of spaces is the act of dowsing for potential temporary autonomous zones. The search for space where we can reconsider how we engage with ourselves, each other and the city. In the face of relentless modernisation, fixed in a nexus between state and capital, Vagueness, Vague Practises and Vague Spaces are targeted by hegemonic power through a process of fixing and enclosure of space, meaning and practice. But the vague and strange continues to perforate the late-modern city of order, control and rationalisation. Thus I see a possibility in strangeness and vagueness and the practices associated with them as artistic and political activities that run counter to the power of hegemony, opening up possibilities for other forms of space and practice. To me the tactics, method and idea of working with vague space is ultimately about choosing to see the margins of things as a space with a radical potential for openness. One where the anchorage for our understanding of object, architecture and history is potentially shattered and new explorations in perspective and meanings become possible.
KOLLAPSOGRAFI ▪ Christians Brygge ▪ METROPOLIS 2015
Designing for the Space of Emotion Christian Nold Media artist, Designer, Researcher, London
DESIGNING FOR USER EXPERIENCE
One of the central questions of user experience design is how to build tools and processes for the emotional engagement of users. This text uses the concept of propositions as articulated by Whitehead1 and extended by Latour2 to describe the space of emotion as something that exists tangibly in the world and which can be designed for. It is by understanding space as both physical & emotional, that designers will be able to create more engaging user experiences. Finally this text describes the Bio Mapping project as a design example of emotional spatial articulation and uses this to propose new design directions. ARTICULATE PROPOSITIONS VS. STATEMENTS
Latour examines how we talk about smells. He argues that the modernist perspective has a dualist view of smell that divides between its “primary qualities – what science sees but that the average human misses”2 (p.208) and its “secondary
qualities that exist only in our minds, imaginations and cultural accounts”2 (p.208). For Latour, this division allows only
uninspiring scientific statements to be made about the world that are either true or false, whilst the subjective, emotional qualities of experience are “unfortunately of no use to science,
since they have no reality, even though they are the stuff out of which dreams and values are made”3 (p.226). In contrast
to this view, Latour makes a surprising proposal; which is, in order to sense and experience the world and speak about in an articulate way, we need a body. The bodies that Latour envisions are not only made of flesh and bones but are also technological and institutional entities that extend and train our existing bodies. For Latour, bodies are defined by their ability “to learn to be affected”2 (p. 205). Latour gives the example of an odour kit used by trainee perfumers to learn to
differentiate a range of smells and to acquire a new body part, a ‘nose’ (a term used to describe a skilled perfumer). Latour argues that it is the combination of the odour kit, teacher and training sessions, which together sensitise & articulate the pupil’s perception and in turn allow the pupil to state propositions about smells. Latour argues that in contrast to a reductive scientific statement, which is either true or false, a proposition is either articulate or inarticulate, meaning that the sensory proposition made by a skilled perfumer has more power to engage with others and build new networks. “With statements one can never compose a world at once solid, interpreted, controversial and meaningful. With articulated propositions, this progressive composition of a common world […] becomes at least thinkable.”2 (p. 212) A TOOL FOR ARTICULATING PROPOSITIONS
Moving towards design, there are strong parallels with the Bio Mapping project4 developed and implemented by the author from 2004-2012, which functions as a tool for sensitising participants to the emotions of the city. The project first gained prominence through the Locative Media movement in 2004 via long-term participatory workshops in which thousands of people participated. Bio Mapping consists of a workshop methodology as well as a wearable device, which combines a Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) sensor worn on the fingers, a Global Positioning System (GPS) and data storage. Participatory workshops were organised for local people who were invited to explore their local area whilst wearing the device. On their return, their GSR and GPS data were visualised together as a spiky path projected in Google Earth. The varying heights of the track indicate physiological changes that relate to the wearer’s arousal or affect. With their personal ‘emotion map’, displayed on a projector in a workshop setting, participants took turns to talk about their data in relation to their memory of experiences along the journey. As people described their own tracks, other participants often joined with their own reflections on the area. All of the tracks and comments were spatially annotated to become part of a collective emotion map of the area, which usually comprised a hundred different people’s
softhook design ▪ hedehusene ▪ lyslyd 2009 Radical reflections
softhook design ▪ hedehusene ▪ lyslyd 2009
experiences and emotions. What was most interesting was the way people’s descriptions tended to blur intimate feelings, events in the physical environment as well as their personal opinions about the area. While they were speaking, they were seamlessly blurring subject and object into one powerful cohesive proposition where body and space merged. This presents a new vision of space, which is relational and material and where geographical space is the common anchoring point for different people’s propositions. This space of emotion would not have become visible or tangible without the Bio Mapping device and the communal workshop setting. Like Latour’s odour kit, the device coproduced a sensitising and performative setting that allowed the participants to articulate the affective qualities of the environment. For many participants, this blurring of body and space was a totally new way of perceiving the local area, which lead to a holistic comprehension, “I now understand an
area I didn’t know before, because I have never walked there. I also now understand the place as a whole”5. The sense of
wholeness captures the way that emotional experiences are not sliced away from the primary qualities of the world but instead intertwined, to form a new kind of empiricism that allows articulate propositions to be made about the world. For Latour, ‘interesting’ propositions are ones that create new relationships between people, entities and institutions that were previously not possible or even thinkable. These unlikely alliances often occurred in the Bio Mapping projects, as in Bethlehem, USA in 2009, where the local mayor decided to attend every workshop and be wired up with the Bio Mapping device. He chose to walk through the most politically contested area of the abandoned steel mill that used to be the main employer in the area. The mayor’s map showed his high arousal triggered by his childhood experiences playing near the mill, as well as his desire as the current mayor to regenerate the area. This story made the local newspaper and combined with the printed Bethlehem Emotion Map became a collective proposition of a hundred people’s experiences about the town. It created a temporary collaboration between a cycling group, a university and local government and lead to a radical proposal to pedestrianise one of the town bridges and setup a new community centre. By blurring subjectivity and objectivity, the space of emotion
became tangible in Bethlehem and gathered together a network of interested parties around an affective politics of spatial articulation. IMPLICATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
Applying Latour’s metaphors to the design of tools is to conceive of devices as sensitising ‘bodies’, which enable or disable people’s sensitivity and ability to make articulate propositions about the world. To make better tools, the researcher as well as his subjects need to go through a mutual process of learning to be affected. To do this requires a commitment on the side of the designer to abandon the goal of creating devices, which produce statements that end discussions. It is by designing for a blurring of mind and matter that a new vision of a shared geographical and emotional space can become tangible and engage new entities. The second challenge involves finding ways to support the further collaboration of these entities that have been brought together by these devices. Left alone, these entities easily resort back to their disciplinary understandings, which divide objective from subjective and destroy the shared space of emotion. Further research is thus needed on longer-term methods that can facilitate and manage the ontological and political disagreements highlighted by these affective tactics.
REFERENCES: 1. Whitehead, A. N. The Concept of Nature. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1920. 2. Latour, B. How to Talk About the Body? The Normative Dimension of Science Studies. Body & Society 10, 2-3 (2004), 205-229. 3. Latour, B. What is Given in Experience ? A Review of Isabelle Stengers “Penser avec Whitehead” Boundary 2 32, 1 (2005), 222-237. 4. Nold, C. Bio Mapping. (2004) Available at: www.biomapping. net. 5. Boraschi, D. Evaluation of the Brentford Biopsy. Institute of Education. (2008) Available at: www.danielaboraschi.com/ boraschi_MA.pdf.
Aleppo strikes back! eystein talleraas Architect, Oslo
A space for disagreement FFB is an architecture collective exploring the boundaries between private property and the culture of common space in our social-democratic North-European cities. Aleppo strikes back! is FFB´s latest project in A space for disagreement, an ongoing series of architectural interventions highlighting the diverse presence of minority groups within society. Our projects emphasise the potency of using architecture as a tool to shed light on subversive, often neglected, social and political topics. A space for disagreement manifests an expanded image of the architect by opening up for debate concerning architecture, democracy and society. Public space can be seen as litmus tests of our collective cultural tolerance. Who is entitled free expression, and in what way? How does the idea of shared ownership work, and to what extent is censorship controlling democratic space? Through art and architecture we can generate arenas, provide for meeting places for cultural nomads and curiosity, where old conflicts aren´t reproduced. Spaces released from cultural barricades and the swamplands of resistance, where the majorities’ goal of agreement on their terms isn´t the governing factor. Architecture can be much more than profit-motivated entrepreneurships, where capitalistic value systems act as the driving force. HAFLA: PARTYcipation as the governing tool
Aleppo strikes back! took place in Tromsø in October 2015.
It was a collaboration between FFB, Swedish visual artist Lisa Torell, Sami writer and poet Sigbjørn Skåden, the Parisian DJ-collective Acid Arab, Tromsø Folk-kitchen, Small Projects gallery, the international music festival Insomnia and numerous Syrian war refugees living in different asylum
shelters in Scandinavia. The event was an experimental celebration of Arabic and Kurdish music, dance, art and food in public space. The idea for the project came to life as a reaction to the war in Syria, and the refugee-crisis that was triggered as a consequence of that. As our contribution to what we saw as a rather polarised pan-European debate at that time, where Hungarians built fences and Germans applauded the arrival of refugees at train stations, we wanted to engage with the situation first hand. By using primary cultural materials, music, food and space, we constructed a scenery for a public, all-inclusive urban streetparty, a HAFLA, in and around the artist-run gallery Small Projects in the Arctic town of Tromsø. As a civic gesture, the local police closed off the street to traffic to accommodate two days of cultural activities. We worked collectively and socially with the refugees, and we were collaborating as artists, authors and hosts in the project and its making. This was not thought of as a party FOR the refugees, but as an arena where the refugees were offered a chance to present themselves the way they wanted. The project started with mapping the different asylum shelters throughout Norway. This took place while driving from Oslo to Tromsø in a big van. Along the tour we stopped at numerous refugee camps to conduct interviews and to meet refugees. Some of the meetings were pre-arranged while others were more spontaneous. Through this process we met people with creative talents. People that in their previous lives had worked with aesthetics on a professional level. We met Rayaan, an interior designer. We met Hassan, a Kurdish chef, once a restaurant owner in Afrin, northern Syria. We met Kawa, educated as a tailor. We met Samara Sallam, a photographer from Damascus. We met Musa, a recent graduate from the acting academy in Aleppo. We met Christian, an electro engineer and light designer, also from a Syrian war zone. These people and several other refugees residing in Tromsø joined us for the generation of the HAFLA
aleppo strikes back! ▪ tromsø ▪ 2015
at our final destination. Film recordings and meetings formed a platform for artistic creativity. There was a strong frustration over their current situation, where they were unable to work or be productive. In that sense, the whole space was bubbling with energy, and our role as architects and organisers was to be conducive to their needs with more materials, tables, food, sewing machines, textiles, espresso makers, etc. Decisions on aesthetics and design were made collectively as the structures were being built or placed by everyone involved. We sought through the HAFLA to create an arena of contrasts and contradiction, released from the need for consensus and preconceived sentimental integration. A room in which the notion of ‘disagreement’ was celebrated. FFB (The Collective Project: For A Denser Concentration of The City) was established in 2010 by Joar Nango, Håvard Arnhoff and Eystein Talleraas.
The starting point for each project is an inquisitive view on majorities, and the belief that cultural advancement and superiority follows democratic and capitalistic values. We initiate collaborations with alternative and marginal social groups, and the projects become specific venues where the groups can express themselves on their own cultural premises. When the creation of the space itself becomes a shared collaborative achievement, the border between us, as decision-making architects, and them, as target group users, disintegrates.
aleppo strikes back! ▪ tromsø ▪ 2015
The group is an independent platform for self-education and creative research on the field of architecture. The project investigates the idea of public space and the freedom of the common citizen to express him- or herself within the Scandinavian model of “right behavior ”. We seek no answers, only enlightenment and cross cultural spaces in which the architecture itself suggests and insists on an enhanced cultural and material diversity within our increasingly generic, commodified and profit-oriented public domain. Through a method resembling an activist practice, we have made performative projects generating space for a more diversified cultural complexity, confronting the nature of our contemporary Scandinavian cities and communities.
On Public Spheres and Invisible Walls Imanuel SChipper Dramaturg, lecturer, scientific researcher, curator and producer, Zurich
The discussion about public space and public sphere is en vogue and can be overheard everywhere. Still, more often 120
than not we do not even know exactly what we are talking about. Our loss for words increases even more when we are asked to construct concepts for an “extended public sphere”. Solutions pertaining to structural measures do not always work. What is to be done? This essay will not offer a solution. It will take a conceptual journey around and towards the term Öffentlichkeit (public sphere) and will describe an example creating a special public sphere through performance art. The German term in itself is already a tough nut to crack – what is this “Öffentlichkeit” about? Are we talking about “Öffentlichen Raum” (public spaces)? Or of the “Öffentlichen” (publicness)? As if this wasn’t enough of a predicament, we face even bigger problems when translating into English – should it be “public space”, which describes a space in a rather Euclidean way, or “public” (is not this supposed to mean “audience”?) or “publicity” (which evokes images of advertising) or “public sphere”? The latter seems to be the most common translation of the term coined by Jürgen Habermas in 1962, which always also implies a spatial dimension1. Is the public thing tied to space, though? Does the public sphere need a public space?
Inverting the argument, does this also mean that when we build public places we always also generate a public sphere, 2 for 1 so to speak? Could it be possible to build public places that do not generate a public sphere? Or at least not the intended one? Which elements do we attribute to this topos? Obviously the term incorporates elements both from the spatial as well as the social sphere. Its first element, public, is borrowed from the Latin publicus which denotes some thing affecting the people (populus). When used as a noun, the term also denotes a group of people German speakers call “Zuschauer” (audience). However, ever since Nicolas Bourriaud in 19982 and Claire Bishop in 20063, we have known that even the most passive audience contributes to the work of art it is observing; simply by observing it. In this sense, something that is “public” affects the people as well as it is affected by the people. Inevitably when speaking of something public, its counterpart “private” comes to mind. This division dates back to the old Greek societies that strictly kept polis and oikos apart. Interestingly, this also included, apart from the obvious areas of personal relationships and family, matters of health, education, work, economy, and generally everything concerning money. Ever since Richard Sennett declared in his 1977 work The Fall of Public Man4 that the individual’s newly developed narcissism created a “tyranny of the intimate” that made a functioning public sphere impossible, the separation of private and non-private has always had to be renegotiated. In our current time, this two-way movement seems to break an invisible wall: on the one hand, the publication of private details in social media has come to an extent that looks as if
it could increase no further. Simultaneously, we can observe the private sphere extending and reaching far beyond the limitations of a person’s own place. I am thinking of intimate and sometimes even sexual activities of couples that make the publicised sexuality of the 1960’s and 1970’s look chaste. Of course, the spread of mobile devices has created the opportunity to handle the most private problems as well as current business anytime and anywhere; and this includes all of a city’s public places. Let us now take a look at the term “sphere”, the second part of public sphere that rather denotes a spatial aspect. Its Greek etymology takes us back to the word sphaira (ball), which points towards the geometrical form of a sphere, a form in which any surficial point is in the same distance to the centre as any other. This image of ideal democracy encompasses a centre as well as the possibility of an even and egalitarian distribution on a surface. There is, very possibly, no image less suited for depicting the public sphere or publicness than a geometrical sphere, since its exterior form will not change no matter how the individual surficial points move or gather. When we use the term public sphere, there is always the connotation of an empty vessel that has a certain form and a fixed volume – that is, actually, empty. The responsibility of filling this vessel would rest on the public (the publicum). A city’s responsibility, then, would be the construction of such vessels; the determination of the public’s material limits, so to speak. Capital, one could say, we have solved the problem. The city administration plans and opens spaces for the public, and now we only have to worry about their appropriate number, size and location inside the urban area. Then why do we find so few active public spheres? Why do they seem to disappear? Somehow it seems obvious that public sphere cannot be charted on a drawing board. It is nothing that could be expressed in the number of its square meters. To understand it, however, we can draw on theories of modern sociology of space. Ever since the work of situationists such as Michel de Certeau (1980)5, Henri Lefebvre (1974)6, Martina Löw (2001)7 and David Harvey (1989)8, we have known that space
cannot/should not be interpreted as an objective constant, but as a construct determined by social, cultural, political and artistic influences. To rephrase: a desired public sphere is not produced by city planners and architects alone, but by all people using those spaces and places and the way they use them. Such a construct is not the product of a onetime effort, but has to be created again and again; it will change and it will adapt. Who produces such a public sphere? This seems to be an important if not the central question: whoever is granted access to a given space (and actually uses this access) will determine the shape of it. In other words: if we people cities according to the rules of free market economy, then they will be, potentially exclusively, determined by free market economy actors and their work. This is where artistic productions come into play that create new modes of appropriation by using performative, narrative and creative means. Such productions do not simply blend into the vast number of big urban events; they do not help marketing a city, they cannot move from festival to festival – maybe they do not even create an outstanding aesthetic final product. They initiate, however, a process in which city’s inhabitants and users view familiar places from a new angle, fill them with new stories and thereby change something. They create a new public sphere that is not determined by planning and construction and, en passant, let certain invisible walls disappear.
references: 1.Jürgen Habermas, Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit. Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft, Luchterhand, Berlin, 1962. 2. Nicolas Bourriaud, L’Esthétique relationnelle, Les presses du réel, Dijon, 1998. 3. Claire Bishop, Participation, MIT Press, 2006. 4. Richard Sennett, The Fall of Public Man, Knopf, New York, 1977. 5. Michel de Certeau, L’Invention du quotidien. Vol. 1, Arts de faire, Gallimard, Paris, 1980. 6. Henri Lefebvre, La Production de l’espace, Gallimard, Paris, 1974. 7. Martina Löw, Raumsoziologie, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a. M, 2001. 8. David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, Blackwell, Oxford, 1989.
100% københavn ▪ cultural house, vanløse ▪ 2014
real anD virtual Walls Fanni nánay Festival director, Budapest
Whether video mapping and vertical dance are projected on building walls in a number of site specific artworks, some artists use innovations of modern technology in order to create the illusion of an urban cyber space. Art that steps out into public spaces (be it performance art, visual art or a cross-genre experiment) may regard the built environment as inspiration, scenery or background, yet, at the same time it can also use the walls and surfaces in itsphysical reality. Besides, there are many examples when the artist crosses over into virtual space and considers that as partly or wholly his creative ground. 124
Real Walls There are two rather popular and widely known ways to use urban wall surfaces for artistic purposes. These, which in reality are almost verging on the commercial, are video mapping and vertical dance. Both genres aim to bring technical realisation to perfection, consequently they attach primary and often exclusive importance to this, plus to the entertainment and spectacle elements, while the meaning behind the visuality falls into the background. Although these works are strictly site-specific, as they are designed specifically for the physical characteristics of certain buildings or wall surfaces, these projects hardly ever reflect on contexts of the given location other than its physicality (historical, social, cultural). The work does not draw inspiration from the environment, and it is not embedded into it. Those works that are able to place the promising potentials that lie in the entertaining and spectacular nature of the above mentioned genres into a deeper context are significantly more exciting. A perfect example of this approach is the work of the French group, KompleXKapharnaüM. The company has been experimenting with the fusion of various genres
of public and multimedia arts, while embedding them into a given urban context. From this point of view, the most perfect example can be PlayRec, a piece they premiered in 2006 and adapted thereafter to numerous locations. This work explores the collective memory of the chosen city district through one emblematic building. It creates a unique collage using material remains found on the location (which are being filmed and edited ad hoc in real-time), archival footage, as well as recollections of people who have lived or worked there. The final material of their long research is then presented in the form of a collaborative piece by musicians, writers, video and visual artists as well as other ones, using the wall of the chosen building as a stage. They can cover the wall with posters, project strange short videos on it, acrobats can take over the wall. The performance does not tell a story, it does not carry specific information or knowledge, yet it conveys a peculiar type of insight and atmosphere in a very suggestive way, which brings the past and present of the location and its surroundings closer to the people. The project Flat by Rodrigo Pardo could be considered somewhat the opposite of PlayRec. While the latter created a grand narrative based on the collective memory of a given community, the former relates the “little story” of the little man. In this work he installs the set of a furnished apartment high onto the wall of a building, and a single actor plays in this vertical space. Contrary to most of the visuality-based vertical productions, the text (the actor’s inner monologue which the audience can listen to in earphones) is in Flat an equally important part of the performance. Crossing over into the Virtual Space On the one side we have been looking at artistic projects based on the physical use of real walls and urban surfaces. The other side of the coin are the experiments, where the artwork enables the spectator to leave physical reality and enter a virtual space or city, or where virtual reality is projected upon a real urban space. One evocative example of entering the virtual space by crossing this invisible wall is the work of Belgian company CREW. CREW works on the borderline between art and science, strongly
relying on the innovations of modern technology, which they use as tools for aesthetic experiments and reflections. In the centre of their productions stand the questions of “selfimage” and “self-perception”, issues longdebated by both neurologists and philosophers. The creators use the potential of transferring our selfperception into a three-dimensional, computer generated image perceived in a cyber space by clashing the visualised self and the perceived self with the help of “virtual reality glasses”. In their recent performances and interactive installations, CREW has been experimenting with the artistic use of immersive technology and has been exploring the philosophical issues arising from the latest technological developments and neuron-physiology. Their performances offer an artistic experience that invites the spectator into a literally omni-directional virtual environment, as well as showing them the effects this environment has on perception and self-consciousness. The use of other new technological solutions for artistic purposes could offer a less real experience of virtual space. In the performance Remember the Good Times by the DutchHungarian company Space, the no longer visible becomes visible with the assistance of an augmented reality application called Layar, that can be operated on tablet computers or smartphones. The basic setting of the production reminds us somewhat of the starting point of PlayRec: it aims to explore the past of a once buzzing, but now abandoned building through archival footage and the recollections of former workers. However, while KompleXKapharnaüM chooses the physical walls of the place as the stage for their presentation, Space does the same on a virtual surface. The audience members head off one-by-one, armed with headphones and a tablet (or a smartphone) on which they can see what a place used to look like in the past while they stand in an empty space. The sound installation or peculiar radio play heard during their journey leads them along various routes, calling parallel stories to life and completes the images appearing on the tablet. Although the Layar application does not enable us to “enter into” this fictive space, the audience can still “see through” walls, which are thus made transparent. Following a series of performances,
the smartphone application remains at the location, so it becomes possible to see the project in the form of a performative exhibition even when the creators themselves have left the place. The Encounter of Virtual and Real Space Nowadays it is common experience to see artwork in the virtual space. Such are the web-museums, virtual galleries, and internet-based theatre, which have also been around for a considerable time. Experiments appeared as early as the year 2000, which used Internet technologies to bring together physically distant performers and similarly distant audience members in real-time. However, cyber world and (performance) art can affect each other the other way around as well, in which case the Internet serves as the source of content for a “real” production, like in 33 Rounds and a Few Seconds, a documentary theatre performance by Rabih Mroue and Lina Saneh from Beirut, which was based on Facebook comments about the suicide of a young Lebanese man. The virtual remarks reflecting on a specific event are transferred from the essentially impersonal and faceless medium of the Internet onto the real stage. The more crucial the event is, the more upsetting effect the performance can have. The effect can be further intensified by placing the “events” of the virtual space not onto a theatre stage, but into the context of a public space. The artwork of the British sound designer Thor McIntyreBurnie entitled The Speakers is an installation and an audioperformance at the same time. The artist constructs an installation made up of speakers and other props, hung in some distance from each other, thus creating a “forest” in the middle of a busy public space. From the speakers we hear actors and citizens reading out Tweets and/or Facebook comments related to a certain event (e.g. a demonstration). What fascinates Thor McIntyre-Burnie is to find a way to provide the “voices” that speak in the virtual space with a real body or “speaker”. The volume level of the speakers is very low, just like a quiet intimate conversation, or even a whisper, so the audience can only hear and understand each part of the text if they go very close to the speakers. Each audience member visits the speakers in a different order, so they get a
different story and experience. However, in the end they unite to form a larger meta-narrative.
In the case of the Swiss-German collective Asphalt Piloten led by dancer-choreographer Anna Anderegg, the main reason for linking real and cyber-space was playfulness. The young company’s performance Tape Riot is, on the one hand, using the urban surfaces in a very physical way and, on the other, it uses the artistic potentials that lie in the linking of the real and the virtual city. Two dancers, a DJ and a street artist working with sticky tape walk through a chosen area of the city. The visual artist marks certain details of the urban environment with black tape and “fences off” an area where the dancers perform their improvised choreography. The audience can follow the two-and-a-half-hour long performance right from the start, join in later, leave as they go along, as well as bump into the four artists by chance. As the visibility of the project was rather accidental, the need arose in the creators to make a recording of it. So a video artist was assigned to accompany them, whose recordings could be followed online with the help of a GPS system, which also helped in finding the dancers in the city. Once the project was over, the physical traces (the “tape-graffities”) remain in place for a while as ephemeral street-art works, but they soon disappear or are removed. However, the films shot at these spots preserve and virtually connect the traces left at the various locations and in various cities.
tape riot ▪ nørrebro ▪ metropolis 2015
In the audience’s perception the events of the “spoken story” inevitably link up with the everyday actions of the public space: the virtual place is projected upon the real location, where the project takes place. Thor McIntyre-Burnie counterpoints the impersonal nature of the cyber world with the most basic physical surroundings and human activities, one of which is fire. Important parts of the installation are the small woodburning stoves placed among the hanging speakers, each heating a copper can filled with tea. His work endorses values such as hospitality, encounter, and being together. Indeed, the audience can spend as much time as they like wandering among the speakers, listening to the “storytellers”, or talking to each other and having tea.
looking for courage â–Ş Tietgenkollegiet, copenhagen â–Ş metropolis 2015
soft confr ceci n’est pas... ▪ strøget, copenhagen ▪ metropolis 2015
Ceci n’est pas… Dries Verhoeven Artist, Utrecht
In the run-up to his project Ceci n’est pas..., Dries Verhoeven wrote a text about his motivations behind the project. He did this in order to sharpen his thoughts and to give the spectator more background information. He also answers questions he received from a number of people about the project.
In Ceci n’est pas..., I show the exceptions to the rule. In a display case, placed in a public city area, I present people in unfamiliar ways. Some passers-by will look away, others will stop and watch, and wonder if/why the protrayed image is controversial. Why are certain images tainted, images that twenty years ago could be shown without problems? Have we become less tolerant? Or is it because we have lost our naive political correctness? Should our children be shielded from certain things, or have we become overprotective? Just like at ethnological exhibitions, the accompanying text provides context to the image. By means of the taboos on show, I try to illustrate the DNA of our time. Some images will arouse less confusion than others. Some presentations might exceed my expectations. I see the display case as a studio, where I can test a new image every day and identify the passers-by’s sensitive spots. Why do I confront unsuspecting passers-by with controversial images? The first question I ask myself is: what are we normally confronted with in the streets? What images do we already see? Shop windows or billboards often portray reassuring, successful images. You could say that commercial promoters, companies have taken possession of public space where they show us a happier version of ourselves. The ideal images nestle themselves in the subconscious, they influence our
ideas about good, nice, beautiful, happy and encourage us to buy certain products. And maybe by doing so they urge us to compare ourselves through those images, allowing them to influence the image we have of ourselves. Can it be that our true image is slowly clouded, when we mainly emanate success in public? Many people aren’t bothered by it, or maybe they’re not even aware of the mechanism. They can mirror themselves quite easily in those images or it gives them positive input. But what happens when you can’t deal with it, if you’re a Muslim woman who doesn’t want to see ads from lingerie shop Hunkemöller in the streets, or if the happiness that is shown is not within your reach because you have a handicap or because you suffer from depression, and these advertising images confront you with your inability? I am impressed by people who use the streets to illustrate our unease, graffiti artists like Banksy, who arouse your mind and make you question your normal “state of being” as opposed to confirming it. Is it better to give the more complex affairs in life a place in public? I think so. Ultimately, I do think harm could come from hiding the dark side of our existence. When I visit countries like America or Austria, all the visible beauty and happiness make me uncomfortable, and I wonder what is masked by the visible layer of sugar. How many basements are concealed under the green hills? How many school murders have been carried out by children who felt they could no longer meet the American dream images? In other words: When the visible world becomes a performance, some sort of Truman show. I think it would be a shame for this to happen in the Netherlands as well, if we do not give the exception to the rule a place, if the streets become the display case of the ideal life. Once, the streets were also a meeting place, where you could sit under a tree together and discuss life’s trickier aspects. If we are in touch with our own fears, we might be able to oversee what ultimately represents the biggest taboo as well, our own deaths. When I was in Sri Lanka, I spoke to a Buddhist who deliberately left ruins from the Tsunami in villages where
many tourists went. I asked him why they weren’t removed, to which he replied that those ruins are necessary in order to remind us that nothing lasts forever. He told me how it was good for him as a Buddhist to always be confronted with destruction, by drinking from a cracked teacup, for example. I think in the Netherlands it is possible to avoid confrontation with such images. Less than fifty years ago, widows made themselves recognisable as such by wearing black clothes. In many other countries, cemeteries are located in the centre of town, and elderly people often live with their children. If you live in a place where the thought of death can be avoided, and someday you are diagnosed with cancer, the shock might be much harder. You’re not prepared. If you surround yourself with reassuring images, the confrontation with an unexpected truth is so much bigger. Just the other day, I received a brochure from a funeral home showing an elderly man driving a motorcycle, smiling at the camera. Why not a picture of a gravestone? It’s the same mechanism that made humanitarian organisations decide to no longer depict helpless African babies. Happy looking babies get you so many more contributors. Destruction gives us cramps. If that is the case, then why? Maybe because we are a nation that concentrates on commerce: I believe it keeps our economy going, this business of avoiding death. Especially now, in times of crisis, people are looking for hopeful signs, political leaders try to convince us that the worst is behind us. And if we all manage to banish the thought of our downfall, the economy will actually improve. That’s the irony. If we all just watch “Ik houd van Holland” (I love Holland) long enough, things might actually improve for the Netherlands. Successful and recognisable images give us a positive feeling about life, which explains, in my opinion, the emergence of new national sentiment. They are calming, and, in the end, it makes us buy more products. The adventure, touching the unknown, has been moved to the background. This might also have to do with influence from the American culture of the image, where there appears to be an embargo on images that confront you with imperfection, vulnerability, ruin. This applies to showing the old, mortal body but also
to seeing a handicapped person in a nightclub or people with Down syndrome kissing. The imperfection points ahead towards death, just like once vanitas still life did. But it really also applies to very peaceful images, such as a girl in her swimsuit sitting on her father’s lap or a Muslim praying in the streets. It is complicated to watch because of the possibile danger that lies within. We want to be reassured. Isn’t that a survival mechanism too, the alarm bell that rings in case of danger? Yes, but it is important to realise when this fear is real and when it is out of proportion. There are also images that arouse an unrealistic fear. In the case of the girl and her father, in 9 out of 10 cases I am positive it concerns an unrealistic fear. Many fathers nowadays are attentive to what other people think and, as a result, tend to have less physical contact with their children. These children learn, indirectly, that physical contact with their father is tainted, that it brings along a hazard. In my opinion it is useful to show such an image to the city, to make people reflect on “why” this image is tainted. It can disarm the image of fear. Am I not afraid people might only feel the superficial shock? In public spaces, you have to go all the way if you want to make people stop and reach their bodies and minds. Some might be startled by my modus operandi. With each image I come up with, I hope to go beyond the controversy. It is not an easy choice: Do I accept the indifference of the passersby who do not care for a subtle image, or do I accept the anger of people in whom I arouse such strong sentiment that they lose the ability of meditating on the image? I hope to encourage people to think about the “why” of the shock. That the fact that certain images are a taboo, for me as well, says something about this era. In earlier times, those same images that get to us today, left us indifferent. In a certain sense, I end up mapping the DNA of our times by means of the taboos. I seek to do this through the descriptions placed on the display case, a reflection on the images from a greater perspective.
Can these images represent a taboo for myself as well, can I condemn them as well?
I really think it’s important that I give an objective portrayal of the things we prefer not to see. I myself, for example, experience a lot of unease when I see violent children. I know that children play wargames to get rid of excess energy and that violent computer games aren’t really that harmful, but if I had children I wouldn’t allow them. They make me panic. The thought that a child might be violent is quite unacceptable to me. I also have trouble accpeting that if war should ever break out, I myself, or today’s children, might be involved in it. At the same time, I realise that it is not unlikely to happen in this century. This is one of my sensitive spots. On the one hand, I am convinced that history repeats itself in cycles. A period of boom is followed by a period of despondency and nationalism. We retreat to familiar ground and shut out whatever could jeopardise our happiness. It is not difficult to see that mechanisms from previous centuries are repeating themselves now. On the other hand, I find it unacceptable to find myself living in a time like this, but, no matter how hard I try, I will not be able to turn around this development. I’d rather blame the Nintendo manufacturers for violent children, than accept that the increase in violence could have been predicted decades ago, and that another war is about to present itself, beyond my sphere of influence. Are there images that nowadays present a taboo but didn’t in the past? Yes, I believe certain images are “in danger of extinction”. I find comfort in the thought that the display case is trying to preserve them. In fact, I suspect that we were more tolerant towards what is unfamiliar to us during the ‘70s and ‘80s than we are now. By law we have arranged that homosexuals can get married, but the craziness in the streets sometimes seems to have disappeared. Where is the naked man that rollerskated through Amsterdam ten years ago? The unmistakable, explicit sex of Dutch films, is it still there? A new sort of bourgeois morality appears to have developed, in which everybody is tolerated, as long as people don’t overdo
it. Squatting buildings are cleared, immigrants should not remain too attached to their own cultures. In art, I sometimes get the feeling that we artists have become more prudent, that we are less bold, that we bend for the subsidiser, for the general public or for the gallerist, thus creating less impulsive idiosyncratic crazy odd work, because that’s something you create on the spur of the moment. Also now the artist appears financially motivated. Again there is a taboo on anarchism, on the realisation that also destruction has a power. The animalesque, the irrational, the unreasonable in art. Where has the Fluxus gone? Where is Jan Wolkers? The taboo of the artist as a destructive force could also be perceived in previous centuries; maybe the liberation of the ‘70s/’80s was merely temporary. The taboo of the handicap. The idea that destruction is a taboo can be noticed everywhere: As a result of the possibilities of a “mouldable life”, the handicapped person becomes exceptional. Why do people even have babies with Down syndrome since the introduction of CVS? Abortion seems more socially accepted than the handicap. In this way, suffering is slowly eradicated from the streets. So when we find ourselves eye to eye with a person with no limbs during our holidays, we become (briefly) confused. What do we do about this? Can this person cope alone? Is it our responsibility? Tolerance in the Netherlands has been istitutionalised: The welfare state offered a solution for a lot of unease for a long time. Freedom of thought is part of the system, but to a lesser degree part of ourselves. The questionable history. And then, of course, there are those images that are part of history, which we’d prefer to erase. At school, I hardly learnt anything about the massacre of the Indonesians after the Second World War, in an attempt to maintain our colony, the so-called “police operations”. The image we convey about the seventeenth century is mainly that of a prosperous country. That this prosperity was also founded on slavery is hardly ever
discussed. You will not find any grand museum about slavery in the Netherlands. The only Dutch word that has been adopted by many other languages is “apartheid”. So how far does this Dutch tolerance date back? For that matter, Germany is a lot more self-conscious about its genocide. I’m not saying that we should wallow in guilt and shame, I’m purely after the consciousness that evil can crawl into each and every one of us. It’s pure arrogance to reprimand other countries for their human rights situation as some sort of policeman if you don’t look back in time when doing so. Slavery was abolished 150 years ago, so five generations have passed since then. Zwarte Pieten / Black Petes. The reference to that page from our past is visible four weeks a year when the Zwarte Pieten roam the streets. To be honest, I was getting a bit tired of the discussion. Come on, get over it, it’s nostalgic! To me it all seemed quite petty. After speaking to a couple of coloured boys, I started to wonder what it means to belong to a minority group and to be portrayed as a manservant. If you already have to conduct a battle on a daily basis to be seen as an equal, what does it mean if at a national celebration you get to be the acrobat and the helper? What would it be like if Sinterklaas was helped by “Jews”, servants wearing a kippah and with long curls as sideburns. Would we be surprised if the Jewish community rebelled against something like that? The funny thing is that, over the past years, we’ve actually been trying to make a politically correct version of Zwarte Piet. It is controversial to have him wear golden earrings and have him speak with a Surinam accent. The Afro-hair has been replaced by black curls. School children will now sing: “the good kids get candy, the bad kids get none”. Picturing the bad by means of the roe - a chimney sweep’s broom made of willow branches used to spank naughty children - has disappeared, but by doing so Pete has become some sort of simple clown and still is as black as coal. All the little children will still see a Zwarte Piet when they see someone from Surinam.
The Zwarte Pieten tradition as we know it today only dates back to the forties, when the Canadians freed the country and they organised a Sinterklaasparty where Zwarte Pieten surrounded Sinterklaas. Has the time come to make a gesture to the coloured community and, after 80 years, colour the Zwarte Pieten blue or green? This so-called protecting tradition also gives me a nationalistic Rita Verdonk taste in my mouth. Or am I rather the American who tries to ban evil from the streets? In Washington they prohibited a Dutch Sinterklaasparty with Zwarte Pieten..... Oh shit. It feels a bit as though my reasoning has brought me into a cul-de-sac. In all honesty, I have more trouble with smoothing away the sharp edges than with the Zwarte Pieten. It’s really all theoretical, but in practice it would be great if, every year at the beginning of December, we seize the opportunity to tell our children more about our history. I would like to show the slavery in the streets, just like the mortal, the sexual, the deformed body. We really shouldn’t place that under a taboo. I really don’t think smoothing the pain away, wrapping a pretty pink bow around it is the solution. It might even be a bigger insult than simply showing what makes us people and Dutch. If that’s not possible, if we can’t talk about our slave-driving ancestors by means of a black helper, then yes, maybe we should turn them into blue smurfs. Does it make a difference how I personally relate to the different images? No. I do not want to influence the spectator’s opinion like some sort of moralist. I think I should stand next to him when conceptualising and describing the images. I can see what the Buddhist meant about drinking tea from a cracked cup, but I am just a Dutchman myself who has a modern designer kitchen in his home. I want to show the spectator how his and my aversion came into being. This is what we, as a community, do not like to see in 2013. Full stop. Regardless of the question whether that is good or bad.
ceci n’est pas... ▪ strøget, copenhagen ▪ metropolis 2015
”Ceci n’est pas...” day 1-10 Sofie Henningsen Researcher, Copenhagen
Dries Verhoeven’s installation Ceci n’est pas… refers with its title to the surrealist painter René Magritte’s La trahison des images, the painting of a pipe with the text Ceci n’est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe). Thus the installation examines the relation between representation and reality. During ten days, Dries Verhoeven showcases tabooed persons in a glass case
at Gammel Torv in Copenhagen and addresses the spectators to become aware of their attitude to the social taboos of society. Earlier this square was used as a place of execution, but today it is full of entertaining clowns and musicians and people shopping. Every day Dries Verhoeven provides a text on today’s topic. This text is shown below along with observations on people’s reactions. During ten days, Dries Verhoeven’s installation Ceci n’est pas… asks us whether we prefer to shut our eyes for the social taboos or if we dare to look our fears in the eyes.
Day 1 (prologue): Ceci n’est pas de l’ art*
Day 2: Ceci n’est pas une mère*
The artist manifesting himself as a destructive force had a short upswing in the 70’s and 80’s, partly under the influence of punk and squatter movements. He was the spokesman for a generation that revolted against the establishment, bourgeois ethics and the prevailing culture. The revolt eventually became institutionalized. From the 90’s onwards, public facilities as well as foundations promoting art had become part of the economic system. People’s need to man the barricades has diminished. There is, however, a growing need for beauty, conceptual art and entertainment.
Since the contraceptive pill became available in Denmark in 1966, the age at which women have children has increased. Nowadays, women have the possibility of planning their career first and securing themselves a solid financial future before they allow themselves to listen to their biological signals. Today, the average age for Danish first time mothers is 29. In 1966 it was 22. The view that young mothers generally have lower educational levels, have less stable relationships and are more likely to have a socio-economic disadvantage is increasingly prevalent. However, the risk of genetic disorders in the child increases as the mother’s age increases. The quality of breast milk diminishes noticeably.
* This is not art
The metallic sound from the shutters draws attention. People passing by and a clown stop to see what’s inside the glass box. A man in blue uniform with golden embroidery and a fur hat appears playing the drum with two hammers. Classical music is played as the drummer intensifies his hammering. “He is smashing the drum”, a mother says. Her young son asks, ”Why is he doing it?”. “No idea, come on”.
A German couple discusses, “Is it Die Blechtrommel?”. “No, it is art”. “It is definitely not art!”. Two children with their father arrive. “Is that a real man? How can he breathe?”. Some people, who have no other place to sleep than the square, start dancing to the drum rhythm. The drummer gets on his knees and smashes the drum completely. Some teenage boys run towards the glass case: “What the fuck? Why?”. Some school children read the text on the side of the glass case: “Actually it says it isn’t art”.
People passing by later this evening find the drummer lying still on the floor with his hammers and his eyes wide open. “Is he dead?”. “No, of course it’s not a dead man.” The crowd waits quietly until the shutters go down.
*This is not a mother
Today a young girl with a big belly, dancing to party music in the glass box, causes a “traffic jam” in the shopping street. Colourful balls cover the floor, and a hula hoop and a plastic chair are placed in the corner. People look at her big belly. “How old is she? 14?!”. Some teenage boys check her iPod wire to see if she’s on power. “It’s not a robot. She just looked at me!”. Two elderly men arrive. “Oh, here we have a little pregnant girl.
Well, that’s good, because we don’t give birth to enough children, they say“. Others go, “It says that she’s not pregnant”. The girl in the glass case sits down to take a rest. “Is she giving birth now?”. “We should do this in Russia”, a young Russian woman
says. In Russia the average age for first time mothers is 20, often because of socio-economic circumstances. More people arrive. “Is it a campaign against abortion?”. Several women shake their heads. When the shutters go down, some young people look a bit troubled. They knock carefully on the shutters. When they open, the girl is lying still on the floor.
Day 3: Ceci n’est pas de l’ amour*
Day 4: Ceci n’est pas le future*
By touching a person’s bare skin, signals are sent to the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls emotions. Children need this physical contact in order to become attached to their educators. Fathers are more restrained than they were in the 80’s and 90’s concerning public display of affection towards their children. There is an increased consciousness that touching can also activate sexual feelings, or be perceived as such by the outside world. Physical contact between women and children, on the other hand, is often seen as reassuring.
The term “security” is of great importance in the Danish society. The amount spent on insurances has increased 25% in the past 10 years. Children and adults wear bike helmets. When talking about armed forces, one prefers to use the word defence. Membership of organisations such as NATO and the UN has led the population to believe that peace will be maintained. In the past 15 years, an increasing number of Danes have acquired a personal firearm. 200.000 Danes have a hunting license. However, the estimated number of private firearms is 1 million. There have to this day not been any Danish school shootings.
* This is not love
When the shutters go up, a man with a little girl on his lap appear. They are stripped to their underwear. He’s reading the fairy tales of H.C. Andersen to her. Two young girls go, “I don’t want to read it, this is too gross!” A Filipina woman doesn’t like the installation either. In the Philippines, they struggle with incest as well as in many other countries. Some take their time to read the text. “It’s a performance about how men should be allowed to show affection to their children”.
A man, a kindergarten teacher, and his wife discuss the installation. “In the 70’s it was okay as a male kindergarten
teacher to hug a child when he or she cried. Now you have to watch your back“. An elderly man is happy to see that this
topic is debated. As a child he never sat on his father’s lap, except for one time when a family photo was taken. When the shutters go up for the last time, the man and the child are lying still on the floor next to each other. The book and his glasses have fallen to the floor, and the chair has tipped over. This immediately attracts a big crowd: “And this
was supposed to be art? This is absurd. Gross. Is it a real child?”.
*This is not the future
A woman jumps back as she sees a young boy with his face covered, sitting on top of a pile of empty bullet cases, polishing them and cleaning a gun. A metallic sound is heard. And a clock – or a bomb – is ticking. A crowd gathers and reads the sign. “It’s about security. Or war”. “It must be a protest”. The boy in the glass box makes eye contact with a boy in a group of teenagers. “What the fuck does he want from me?”, the boy asks his friends. “What’s this, mummy?”. The mother reads and explains to her children that it’s a piece of art and asks, “Are you ever afraid
that we will have war in Denmark?”. “Could that happen?”. “We can’t know for sure, but it doesn’t look like it. We have good friends all over the world”. “Like USA”, the youngest girl adds. Others go, “It says we should be careful not to create a gun culture like in The States”. “What’s this?”, a man asks his friend. The friend has been
passing by the other days and liked the installation, but today it’s too much. “So I called the police”. “Good idea, he’s too young to work”.
Day 5: Ceci n’est pas de l’ histoire*
Day 6: Ceci n’est pas la nature*
During colonial times, Danish sailors transported 100.000 Africans to the Danish West Indies where they were sold to plantation farmers as their property. Most of these Africans died before arriving because of inadequate conditions on board. In 1848, Denmark abolished slavery. The slaves’ release caused a financial loss for the plantation owners. The Danish government paid fifty dollars for every slave the farmers had owned. An official apology to the Africans or their descendants has not been seen as necessary. The period of colonialism is generally not present in the Danish understanding of national history. This notion is overshadowed by feelings of discomfort about the influence the Danish state had and still has in other places.
Western civilization reasons according to the division man/ woman. As stated by Freud, the first thing we take note of in every new encounter is whether we are dealing with a man or a woman. When the recognition is not automatic, this leads to insecurity, annoyance or happy excitement. In Denmark, transgenderism is still considered a diagnosis. The approval for a sex change operation involves a process of minimum two years. Since 2014, Danes have been able to change their gender legally by acquiring a new social security number. Female social security numbers are even. Male numbers are odd. There are no other possibilities. It is not easy for transgender people to acquire jobs, unless they work in the entertainment industry.
*This is not history
* This is not nature
“The show starts in 15 minutes”, the blackboard says. A black man in chains and waistcloth sits exhausted in the corner eating peanuts from a basket. “I get the shivers, when he looks at me. I feel guilty”, a mother says. The father replies: “Yeah, it’s a cruel part of our history that we don’t really speak of.” A mother explains to her little son what a slave is. The man in the glass box leans forward and looks an extremely curious tourist strait into her eyes. A roar scares her. ”He looks like a monkey”, a few Danish people say. The man begins to do acrobatics, and people grab their smartphone cameras. “The Elephant’s Lullaby” is played. Some youngsters hum, but stop:
In the glass box a gently smiling person with long hair and feather wings swings from side to side in the wind. “It’s a bit nasty and scary”. One of the teenagers goes to search every angle of the performer’s body in the floor mirrors, but stops when the performer smiles at him. The shutters open again later, and it sounds and looks like we are at a football match. Three elderly ladies arrive. “Well,
“Do you know what they sing in this song? My grandmother told me once. There! Did you hear it?”. The crowd claps as the
shutters go down. Three people from Gambia arrive later and find the man lying in the glass case. ”Oh my God!”. One of them reads and turns to the small crowd. “This was what the white man did to us back then. But it was back then”, he smiles.
it must be a man”. “Are you sure about that? He has breasts”. “Then half man, half woman”. “Yeah, there’s been lots of that in the weekend”, referring to the Pride Parade. “What’s it about?”, a grandchild asks his grandfather. He smiles. ”Well, it’s a bit difficult, but I’ll try to explain it”. Many people are reading the text today. “I see, it is a transgender person”. A few take selfies, supposedly out of curiosity or
identification. In the evening, the performer lies on the floor. The feathers are covering the back, and the face is hidden behind the hair. The torso is still visible, and it attracts a curious crowd.
Day 7: Ceci n’est pas notre désir*
Day 8: Ceci n’est pas notre peur*
A physical handicap often has a negative effect on sexual attraction. This is in part determined culturally. Socially accepted ideal images nestle themselves in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls sexual attraction. It also has biological roots. Every human being unconsciously seeks to improve his species through reproduction, the socalled natural selection. He or she will search for the partner that appears most suitable for the creation of healthy and successful children. Screening for a genetic defect in a foetus has become part of standard prenatal screening programmes. The number of women who decide to interrupt their pregnancy due to an unwanted diagnosis has increased over the last decade.
Fear is a defence mechanism. When there are worrying signs, the amygdala regulates the secretion of stress hormones. In this way, the body prepares itself to fight or to flee. The focus shifts to the threat, and superfluous details are no longer perceived. When the threatening situation appears too great, humans retreat to familiar ground. Since 2001, the need for a familiar structure has led to an increase in orthodox believers as well as fear of foreign religions.
*This is not our desire “I pass by this every day and still I don’t get it”. When the
shutters go up, a woman dressed in a fur appears sitting at a bar table full of drinks enjoying the party music. She is very small, and her legs are very short. She lights a cigarette and looks at the crowd with a flirtatious look. People are provoked. “Why should this be an attraction?”. “Hope she gets money for it”. “This is really bad art!”. Three elderly ladies walk by the box. “This is like in the past when people were exhibited. I don’t like it.” Some people, especially youngsters, think that the glass chair makes an optical illusion and her legs are hidden underneath. “Is it a real person?”
Others, who take pictures of the woman, offend some people, and they take pictures of them to document it. Many people take their time to read and comment. “Little people should
also be able to enjoy life and go to a bar and so on“. “It’s about tolerance”. “Brave”. “Fresh”. An American guy says, “The more we talk about it, the more I start appreciating this contemporary art”.
* This is not our fear “Why is he wearing a bulletproof vest?”. “Is it an explosive belt?”. They check the bulletproof glass of the box. A man sits
on a carpet with a string of beads in his hand. The sound from the beads is heard on the metallic floor. “Walk on”, an elderly woman says to her husband. A mother explains to her child, “It’s a Muslim praying to his God Allah”. “This means that there is nothing to be afraid of”, a father tells his daughter.
The call of the muezzin’s from the loudspeaker attracts a mother wearing a veil and her child. The praying man looks her straight into the eyes with a calm and mild look. They keep eye contact for a while, and the mother starts to cry. He gets up, opens his hands, crosses them and falls down to his knees with his forehead to the floor. Three Danish Muslim girls arrive. ”It’s not right to expose
religion in this way, especially not when he is wearing the vest. It gives associations to terrorism”. A Danish Muslim man returns after a quick statement, “nonsense”, and shouts to the crowd, ”He’s not a real Muslim. He doesn’t looks towards Mecca. He’s nasty!” He leaves. The rest stays. Two Danish men, originally from Syria, find the installation interesting. “It’s a good way to show that there is nothing to fear.”
Day 9: Ceci n’est pas mon corps*
Day 10 (épilogue): Ceci n’est pas moi*
The human body starts to show signs of ageing after the age of 20. Degeneration occurs as a result of free radicals attacking the body, which damages the DNA structure. Wrinkles are caused by repetitive motions of the skin, like the act of smiling. The reduced level of elastin creates a larger skin surface, for example under the chin. The average age in Denmark is 41, and this age is increasing. Professional models keep getting younger and younger. Ideally they start their careers when they are between 14 and 19 years of age.
Historically, cemeteries in Denmark were located outside urban areas. According to roman convictions, the dead presented a threat to order within the sacred city limits. The dead were believed to pollute and create chaos. Death nowadays is an even less public matter. Fewer elderly die in their own or their family’s home. Widows and widowers are not recognizable as such. The public display of loss and sadness is considered out of place, as are any signs of decay, degradation or destruction.
* This is not my body
The square is full of children catching soap bubbles – an allegory of impermanence in art history. When the shutters go up, green high-heeled shoes appear on an elderly naked lady. “I will have nightmares tonight, grandma”. A boy pulls his father towards the box. ”Something’s written over there. What is it?”. “I’ll explain it when we leave.”
Three elderly ladies discuss lively. “She must be around 60
years old. Look at her legs. Is it a mask she’s wearing? It’s not consistent with the rest of the body.” The seniors seem curious, while the teenagers go,“ This is so scary!”. The woman in the
glass box moves her hand up her arm very slowly and up to her face and strikes some hair away. As she moves the hand, a crispy sound is heard as if her skin is dry and chapped. She is sitting with her legs crossed. A frequent visitor arrives and explains to some young men, “It’s about the fact that we all age, even though we don’t like to show it.”
When the shutters go up for the last time, the woman is lying still on the floor with her hair covering her face. Some people shake their heads. Others look troubled standing as close to the glass as possible until the shutters go down.
*This is not me
On this last day, the glass box doesn’t reveal a living person, but living maggots. An urn turns slowly, and its metallic surface reflects the sun. The same classical music as the first day is played. “What are they eating?”, a women asks her friend. “They eat the dead bodies. It’s an urn standing on top of them”.
A sound of chewing or slippery worms is heard. Some young girls arrive. “Oh, what’s that?”. “It’s maggots, and it
has something to do with how we place the dead outside of the city”. “But what is it about more generally?”. “It is about taboos”. Two other girls read the text. ”It’s worms, but it is also a person – sort of.” An elderly couple takes a quick look as they pass. ”This is what we will become one day”. Another elderly lady arrives and meets two men, whom she knows. “Now, you should listen to a wise old woman. Life and death walk hand in hand, and this is a brutal, but simple way to show that one day we must all die. One day you’ll get burned or buried.”
When the shutters go down this evening, today’s person is already laid to rest.
100% København A Micro-Utopian City Experiment Sofie Henningsen 144
Performing arts scholars and cultural players point out that we see a collective turn with new partnerships and co-creation processes involving ordinary people1. Participant-oriented practices are also part of the development in museums. This article focuses on the topic of everyday life narratives staged in the theatre performance 100% København by Rimini Protokoll. It was presented in Skuespilhuset by Københavns Internationale Teater and the Royal Danish Theatre during Metropolis Festival 2013. In 2014, the exhibition 100% København based on the performance opened in the Museum of Copenhagen in collaboration with Københavns Internationale Teater and photographer/producer Maja Nydal. This article primarily examines the narratives of the Copenhageners participating in the theatre performance 100% København.
100 citizens on stage Rimini Protokoll’s’ 100% København is a documentary theatre concept, and Rimini Protokoll’s’ theatre practice is
characterised by protocols of self-life narratives based on research instead of literary dramas. Instead of educated actors, Rimini Protokoll uses amateur performers, the socalled everyday experts3. In 100% København, the everyday experts are of course the Copenhageners themselves, and the performance was performed by 100 citizens of Copenhagen. The 100 participants were chosen by six criteria based on official statistics on age, gender, socio-economic status, family status, geography and ethnic background so that the participants represented the demography of Copenhagen. The performance explored the identities behind the demography and the citizens’ attitudes towards political, social and religious topics expressed through live voting. The lines in the performance were based on preceding interviews with the participants. Each person, representing 1% of the inhabitants of Copenhagen, introduced him- or herself shortly, including age, city district, occupation and a small story connected to a personal item. The demography of Copenhagen was shown in diagrams formed by their bodies on a digital screen as living statistics. During the performance, an open mic session allowed the participants to ask the other participants about their opinions on social and religious topics and their relation to the city of Copenhagen, such as “Who sees himself as a second-rate citizen?”, “Who believes in a God?”, “Who came to Copenhagen to escape violence?”, ”Who suffered from depression?”. A Q and A part gave the Copenhageners on
100% københavn ▪ the royal theatre, copenhagen ▪ metropolis 2015
100% københavn ▪ the royal theatre, copenhagen ▪ metropolis 2015
stage the opportunity to ask the audience questions and vice versa. During the performance, some of the participants told a more detailed story from their life. Life-narratives of the participants Following the life-narratives of the participants quite closely made me interested in examining the narrative process. I interviewed some of the participants before the performance in 2013 and again several times in 2014. I examined the participants’ narrative process with Paul Ricoeur’s Threefold Mimesis4 from his theory on Time and Narrative, which is based on his understanding of the narrative identity as influenced by the narratives we tell about ourselves5. Using the Threefold Mimesis I replaced the act of reading a play with the act of narrating and listening to a narrative within the performance. The reflections that the participants shared with me showed how different preunderstandings they had. This of course makes sense when you choose 100 very different people. During the process of rehearsing and performing, where the collective narrative was lead by Rimini Protokoll, the individuals met the other participants from different backgrounds and with different pre-understandings. These different pre-understandings are the ones the participants use to comprehend the plot – the collective narrative. The participants expressed in different ways how the theatrical frame created a space characterised by vulnerability and openness. Thus the non-fictional narrative was staged and separated from their everyday life, which allowed each participant to come forward with his narrative in front of The Other, according to Mikhail Bakhtin6. Because of the aesthetic experience which the participants shared during the performance process, I argue that they were enabled to enter into other types of dialogues with an increased attention compared to their everyday life, as Ole Thyssen suggests7. This participant expresses why: “Racism or militant holdings are not typically brought into light in everyday interaction, because you sort it out before even discussing those topics if you feel that you’re not on the same page”. Furthermore
the actor/character relation tests the participants’ prejudices against specific groups of society:
“One of the boys told that he had previously had a connection to the criminal gangs, but he’d made a U-turn and was now in high school. Another guy, who was politically active in Konservativ Ungdom, had started a coaching bureau helping high school students, and he offered him free homework coaching if he needed it. That was touching, because – here comes the prejudice against Conservatives, who won’t let too many into the country and so on – he wanted to support him. Instead of being part of statistics or a headline, you’re a human being. One can’t have anything against human beings to begin with. Right there my prejudice against Conservatives was challenged.”
Here the conservative character is not identical with the actor’s (participant’s) actual actions and attitudes. Thus the narrative process of the participants, including dialogues and interactions on and off stage, can be seen as a reflexive explorative process of Self and Other. Through dialogues and discussions, the participants negotiate about the truth, which in some cases gives a new perspective on each other: “I’ve always wondered how they look, the ones who vote on this damn party. Who are they? Do all of them live in a small village in the north of Jutland? It has broadened the spectrum of whom this political discourse attracts. At least it was broader than my prejudice.”
In other words, after the performance process ended, the collective narrative of 100% København has in different ways influenced the participants’ view on the other participants or the participant’s self-narrative: “It has developed me, and I think I am braver now with many things. It has been truly amazing. It has been the experience of my life. Not because I didn’t experience a lot, but this has been extraordinary. That I dared to come forward and tell who I am.”
These examples illustrate the final phase in Ricouer’s mimetic process, the Refiguration8, the acquisition of the plot – the collective narrative of 100% København. Based on the participants’ statements, I argue that the narrative process in the performance contributed to facilitate life-narratives of the individual as well as the collective. Thus the performance examined the relation between narrative and identity.
Relations In this connection, the question of how the participants related to each other during and after the performance process come up. The exchanges of narratives created encounters or even new relations between several of the participants. To examine these encounters, Bourriaud’s theory of Relational Aesthetics9 on the encounter between artwork and beholder helped Illustrate some interesting potentials in this performance project. Therefore I examined the participants as beholders of each other’s staged narratives. But what are these relations good for? Claire Bishop’s Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics emphasises the need for asking what kind of relations the artwork creates seen from a democratic point of view10. I found that the theatre concept of 100% København is highly based on antagonisms through live voting, as expressed in the follow statement: “It‘s okay that people have different attitudes to different issues, whether they vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’. In Iraq, I was always right, but here I have learned to accept and respect other people’s attitudes“.
This example of the non- consensus-seeking aspects illustrates the democratic quality in the performance concept. When I asked all the participants how they related to each other, I got the following answers: The participants, who experienced new individual relations to some of the other participants, explained that the relations were either based on common interests or curiosity. This group of participants experienced a temporary sense of community. The participants, who experienced a new relation to the other participants as a group, explained that the relation was based on the shared aesthetic experience and the sense of community during and after the performance: “During the time we have been together, we’ve come closer to each other much more than with many others you meet in your life. It’s almost like colleagues, whom you’ve been working with for 20 years”. And the narrative process of the individual is depending on the collective: “It’s like running a 100 metre race and finish in a good time. But we only did it because of the solidarity between us”.
Regardless of the length of the relations, this suggests that the performance’s narrative process has a potential to create
encounters, relations and a sense of community between the participants. The exhibition - a close-up on the identities The photo exhibition 100% København was a documentation and a development of the theatre concept, focusing on the individual with staged and aesthetically beautiful portraits of the participants. In the accompanying text, the participants talk about a social taboo or personal topic, which makes them stand out of the crowd. The topics count alcohol abuse in the family, having a donor baby as a single mom, and the lack of identification in society for citizens with other ethnic background than Danish, just to mention a few. Thus the portraits invite the beholders to reflect on their attitude towards these topics. On the official opening of the exhibition, the museum guests had the opportunity to meet the participants sitting next to their portraits. These living portraits invited the spectators to take part in a dialogue through the aesthetic presentation of the participants’ statements. The exhibition toured in Copenhagen in public spaces and in arts and community centres of the different city districts and finished in the City Hall of Copenhagen. A Micro-Utopian City Experiment According to Bourriaud, relational art creates an arena for inter-human encounters and exchange. Here utopian experiments can be tested to create models for the real world. ”The role of artworks is no longer to form imaginary utopian realities, but to actually be ways of living and models of action within the existing real, whatever the scale chosen by the artist”11. This means that the participants’ encounters
and human interactions in the process of 100% København are interesting from a social point of view. The concept of Bourriaud’s Micro-Utopia differs from the classical concept of Utopia, which is defined as a collective project and an idealisation or alternative, but it is nowhere to be found. This is implemented in the ambiguous name Utopia, the merge of Eutopia (the good place) and Outopia (nowhere)12.
The concept of the Micro-Utopia acts through the arts on a micro-scale and has the potential to create an inter-human encounter. The aesthetic experience, which a person can get
100% københavn ▪ copenhagen ▪ metropolis 2015
100% københavn ▪ copenhagen city hall ▪ metropolis 2015
from this encounter and bring back to everyday life, does not seem that utopian. In the following participant statement it is emphasised how he experienced that his narrative could contribute to diminish prejudice against immigrants and refugees in the Danish society: “Other Danes should hear my life-narrative. I have lived a life very different from an ordinary Danish life. In general, immigrants and refugees are not people who were invited to Denmark. We came here on our own. There is a lot of missing information from both sides. We should do an effort to get to know each other, and I think we should take the initiative ourselves to tell the Danes that we are not all criminals. We have a good culture, good educations and a good history in our society. That is why I think it’s a good idea to be open-minded and tell the Danes our narrative”.
This statement supports the idea that the theatre performance 100% København is not a distant utopia. I consider this theatre performance and the project as a whole as a micro-utopian city experiment, where the exchange of life-narratives creates reflections on the norms of our society. I argue that 100% København is an experimental model of how to give voice to different narratives in society and how to practice cultural citizenship. This is, according to Gerard Delanty, practiced through individual and collective narratives and through the relation between Self and Other in order to give people a voice, a sense of belonging and identity13. The fact that the participants are representative of the population of Copenhagen supports the idea of the cultural citizenship. In the performance, every part of society has a voice and a vote. Their voices are equal, and it reflects the respect and recognition many of the participants expressed in the interviews. 100% København illustrates how our narratives affect our inter-human relations, and it makes us reflect on how we wish to relate to each other as fellow citizens. As an alternative to the media, this performance concept contributes to a critical debate and makes us reflect on our vision for our city and society.
References: 1. Dithmer, Monna, and David Pledger. »Co-creation på teatretfarvel til de enrådedende solister og låste kunstarter. « Politiken. dk, 27 December 2014 2. Sandahl, Jette. »Waiting for the Public to Change?« in Museums - Social Learning Spaces and Knowledge Producing Processes, by Kulturstyrelsen, edited by Ida Brændholt Lundgaard and Jakob Thorek Jensen, 174-184. Copenhagen: Kulturstyrelsen, 2013 3. Gade, Solveig. »Samtale med Daniel Wetzel fra Rimini Protokoll.« Peripeti, 2007 4. Ricoeur, Paul. Time and Narrative. Translation by Kathleen McLaugin and David Pellauer. Vol. 1. The University of Chicago Press, 1984 5. Ricoeur, Paul. Time and Narrative. Translation by Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer. Vol. 3 Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1988 6. Bakhtin, Mikhail. Problems of the Dostoevsky’s Poetics. Edited by Caryl Emerson. Translation by Caryl Emerson. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984 7. Thyssen, Ole. »Æstetisk erfaring« in Æstetisk erfaring tradition, teori, aktualitet, by Ole Thyssen, David Farvholdt, Carsten Friberg, Søren Kjørup and Sverre Raffnsøe, edited by Ole Thyssen, 27-40. Frederiksberg: Forlaget Samfundslitteratur, 2005 8. Ricoeur (1984) 9. Bourriaud, Nicolas. Relational Aesthetics. Translation by Simon Pleasance and Fronza Woods with Mathiue Copeland. Dijon: Les Presses du Réel, 2002 10. Bishop, Claire. »Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics.« October 110 (October 2004): 51-79 11. Bourriaud, p.13 12. Thyssen, Ole. Utopisk dialektik. Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1976 13. Delanty, Gerard. »Citizenship as a leaning process: disciplinary citizenship versus cultural citizenship.« International Journal of Lifelong Education, 3 June 2010: 597-605
Margin notes on Temporary Cities Six city portraits, nearly seven Media artist collective ZimmerFrei, Bologna
Look. If you turn your back, you can see the mountains. Marseille isn’t open to Europe, the Europeans come down here. Because here it’s closed, and there it’s open. The sea is the horizon. It reminds me of a John Ford film!
Gérard in La beauté c’est ta tête, Marseille, 2012
Anna de Manincor (AdM): Temporary Cities are portraits of places we don’t know. We arrive in a city we see for the first time. Of course we do some research and inquiries together with the institution that invites us, but sometimes we go back to the first landmark we had found during our first tour on location. The title of our first installation comes to my mind: By will and by chance. It was 1998, the ZimmerFrei group didn’t yet exist (it began in 2000), but we were already doing some experiments together in some squats and artist-run spaces in Bologna. When we arrived in Copenhagen, we stumbled upon a small hill, and we immediately climbed it to get a view of the whole neighbourhood. The artificial hill, built to cover the sports hall in Korsgade and give back the courtyard to the residents, became a miniature version of the city itself: it’s not Copenhagen, it’s not even Nørrebro, it’s a piece of temporary geography made by visions, sounds and people, small enough to be explored in a one hour film. Massimo Carozzi (MC): The hill was the only high place we found in a completely flat city. Our visual memory works like this: we see a detail, and this one detail takes up the whole
place. For example, in Budapest we stood for an entire day in an empty lot, part of a deserted construction site. Four dogs passed by several times, we stayed together, sitting on the grass looking around in silence. What stands out are groups of stray dogs walking in the city, staring at everyone with a tame glance and understanding every language. Centers and outskirts: BRUSSELS | COPENHAGEN | BUDAPEST | MARSEILLE | MUTONIA | TERSCHELLING Anna Rispoli (AR): The films Temporary Cities are partial
portraits of six European cities. We chose marginal viewpoints to observe towns during a special transition. Some of them are big cities, some are small villages at the edges of Europe. Margin can mean several things: it’s a geographical edge, as is the case of the small island of Terschelling in the north of the Netherlands, or it can be a place put aside by a historical or economical gap, as is the case of the very central street of Laeken in Brussels, a commercial street during the “belle époque” and now forgotten in favor of the nearby rue Haute, where large retail chains have settled. A margin can be an invisible edge, like what we met in a small coffee bar in the central neighborhood of Noailles, Marseille. It can be evil or good, but the social fabric of the streets is a resilient dam in the face of economical troubles, unemployment or the endless search for a public identity. All this while, in the meantime, a large urban cleaning project is trying to transform the market zone of the old port into a theme park for tourists and investors. A similar process took place in the 8th District in Budapest, a popular neighbourhood under pressure by the aggressive urban renovation project designed without any consultation with residents. But it can also be a chosen margin, and this is the case for Mutonia, a village created and preserved as a constructive attitude to another way of making a community, a house or a town that you can call your hometown. The fringes in the spotlight (The edges in the centre)
AR: Mutonia is a temporary camp that has existed for 20 years on the margins of the small Italian town Santarcangelo
Teleki tér ▪ budapest ▪ 2012
common gardens â–Ş budapest â–Ş 2012
di Romagna, near Rimini. This camp was created by a group of travellers and artists from London and Berlin who visited Romagna during a theatre festival. After their parade of fireworks and scrap robots, their trucks were in need of repair, and they took the time to fix them. This break has turned into a living experiment and habitat. The trucks became houses, young cyber-punks from northern Europe became adults and had children, and together they began to invent a parallel city next to the small Italian town. AdM: This precariousness, the fragility of perspective that is typical of temporary places like Mutonia, suits us very much. Mutonia is an invented city, which remains very fragile, and this is its best quality. We too remain strangers in the cities that we go through in our filming. We then need the experience that residents can give us, no matter if it is their personal experience, their memory or rather their invention. We don’t seek for “truth” nor “reality”, but instead we seek for adherence. MC: (Reads from the book Le città invisibli (Invisible Cities) by Italo Calvino:)
Travelers return from the city of Zirma with distinct memories: a blind black man shouting in the crowd, a lunatic teetering on a skyscraper’s cornice, a girl walking with a puma on a leash. Actually many of the blind men who tap their canes on Zirma’s cobblestones are black; in every skyscraper there is someone going mad; all lunatics spend hours on cornices; there is no puma that some girl does not raise, as a whim. The city is redundant: it repeats itself so that something will stick in the mind. […] Memory is redundant: it repeats signs so that the city can begin to exist. Temporary communities
MC: After these six movies, can we say that we have a strategy in our approach? AR: We always start the same way. We define the area that we are looking at and begin to live there day after day. What then happens is that a kind of temporary community pops up around the spot. But even if the beginning is the same, the results are different for each film, and unexpected. But what has increased along the years is a voluntary passivity. We like
to be driven, letting the people we meet decide what they want to give to the film, and which side, real, fictional…We do not control everything. Marseille by Claire (excerpt from La beauté c’est ta tête) I came here because I fell in love with someone. I remember my first morning in Marseille really well. When I saw the market of Noailles… loads of people milling around. I woke up after my first “love night” in Marseille and I realised I was in the middle of the Noailles market. So many smells and noises around me, so many colours and mess... And I thought: “At last, a place where I can be just as much as a stranger”. There are many strangers here, and this place doesn’t belong to anyone. I’m the same as all these people who come from everywhere, and so everything is possible. Marseille could never be mine. If I would lose the feeling of being a stranger and foreign, I’ll lose that feeling of being “at home” in Marseille. The city isn’t my best friend, it’s a bit like a wild animal, that can put up with me… and I can put up with it. Mon Bar by Gérard (excerpt from La beauté c’est ta tête) Unknown man: Don’t say anything. Gérard: Why shouldn’t I say something? Man: Please… don’t say anything. Gérard: I think the camera... what a camera does is… after a
bit, what the other is looking at becomes different. What’s on the camera doesn’t mean anything, it’s just an image. It doesn’t reflect anything, it’s just an image. (Hinting to the regulars of the bar) All of a sudden they show you what they want you to see… A caricature. Gérard: (Breaks a glass while talking) Shit! Anna R: Let’s bring another glass! Gérard: You see, it isn’t a philosophical café here.
AR: We met Gérard by chance, and he became a central character in the film. We were well aware of the way a foreigner could have seen a place like that bar, both a stern gaze and an exotic gaze would have been distorted or irrelevant. Plan non-American
AdM: In our ways of looking at the city there are some recurrences. One of these, among others, is that we do
not substitute our guide’s eyes with our own: no subjective camera, we prefer to make our position visible. We shoot extreme long shots where we follow somebody from behind, and so we prefer filming backs to faces: backs walking, backs watching around, while they cover a good part of the image. AR: This is our specific point of view. It is from this choice of a secondary position that any story begins, as if in order to travel within urban complexity we should give up trying to see every single thing, it’s not trying to have a full overview... AdM: Going technical: figure seen from behind, more or less at the centre of the frame, little tilt upright, the figure looks at what we look at, the same as we do. We share the same point of view, but the view is partially hidden by the figure, we stay in the second row. Tools and fetish objects
MC: We use basic equipment: a HD photo camera, a boom mic on a fishpole, a couple of radio-microphones, a digital audio recorder, a hand-made shoulder. After Budapest, using a cargo bike became a must. AR: Different kinds of maps, an old tripod, a wooden clapperboard, a white/silver Lastolite, a couple of LED lights. AdM: I don’t go anywhere without a flashlight, a fake Leatherman, a moka coffee-maker, a grinder and a garliccrusher to make pesto, a couple of little toy animals (buying them at the airport is mandatory) and a lion tooth. Eyes on camera (by will or by chance)
AdM: At the Mon Bar, in Marseille, the point of view is reversed several times. Suddenly one of the characters broke the fourth wall and - staring into the camera - she made a little short film on her own. On the other hand, at the end of the shootings, we deliberately betrayed the code of “reality-cinema” by asking the regulars at the bar to do something special, something just for the film. Indeed there are always two or three hidden undercover films inside each documentary: there are the situations we are shooting at the moment, a secret film that runs one layer below and the film
that finally comes out of editing. Where is the exit?
AR: At Terschelling, our guide said little or nothing. He walked in front of us and dragged us through the territory. Steadfast on our sand is the exit passage from the urban. But the film is not about nature, in the Netherlands nature doesn’t exist any longer, it is a land-sculpture constantly re-drawn by the humans who live there and take advantage of the land. Footnotes about our temporary cities
AdM: The sequence of the six films is a pipe of communicating vessel: a question raised by a film gets processed in the film right after. Many questions remain unanswered, though. In Budapest: where are the “internal margins” between the city that is planned by the urban project and the one that has been deleted (the town of the weakest working class, the gypsy town)? In Marseille: if something will survive the pressure of large urban project, it is the street life, in and out of tiny stores and popular cafes. Even having your usual place, or being recognised in the street, being called by a nickname, becomes a battle of resistance. In Terschelling, things go the other way round: almost absolute uniformity prevails among the inhabitants; everything seems to work, poverty does not exist, everyone knows everyone and controls others. It is a place where an explosion of chaos can occur despite any expectation, and it is there that the western film turns into a zombie film. Parallel film, secret film
AR: In each city there are social dynamics and power lines that run parallel and intersect: we all know about the trends towards global standardisation, economy which replaces the policy and all the rest. The genius loci as opposed to social engineering underlies every urban transformation, even the best intentioned. In every city we went to, we could find many overlapping cities, and in each of these films there is a visible film and a secret one that runs underground. AdM: After the street in Brussels, imagined after our death, the adults seen by the teenagers in Mutonia, the cowboys and horsemen seen by cows, sheep and horses, and in
Terschelling, the Sundurum masks walking around like zombies, we are now shooting a new city portrait in Chalonsur-Saône, in the centre of the French hexagon. MC: In Chalon, we are thinking about filming the present from an imagined future, a sort of science-fiction-collectivefantasy, to use the definition Werner Herzog gave to his masterpiece The Wild Blue Yonder. An European experience
AdM: Chalon can give us the opportunity to explore common European worlds and anti-worlds in the same city (shrinking city and technologically advanced industries, working class culture and global tourism, utopia and dystopia). Together with some inhabitants, experimental architects, activists, old and new workers of the industrial district, we would like to imagine an urban constellation shifted in time, maybe going in different directions. AR: While we ask to the newcomers what could be the new vocation of an ex-industrial city, what will be the role of work and workers as we know them (as long as this concept exists), are we still in the construction of the European identity or are we already into its de-construction? MC: It’s again an experience of superimposed time-space dimensions where we live at the same time, as Philip K. Dick taught us to disclose. Which place do I belong to?
AdM: In Mutonia, we filmed a conversation between some Mutoids and their mates. Eugen, an Albanian, asked Mike: Eugen: How did you end up living in Italy? Mike: I wanted to live in South America, but the plane takes too
long, so I came here. Eugen: Now we’re stuck, we have to stay here. Mike: My philosophy is: it’s not important where you are, at the end of the day the countries are just places. The world is like that. Oh gosh, now I sound like an old man...
Hometown|Mutonia, Santarcangelo di Romagna 2013
Looking for our hometown
AdM: So finally, are cities just places? Can the people who change city or are forced to change country hope to be the same person everywhere they end up? I love what Mike says, but I simply don’t agree. Each place makes a damn difference! And the place where you live will shape you, even if you don’t want it to. MC: Anna, why did you decide to live in Brussels? AR: I have lived in Brussels since 2008, but I had already been thinking about leaving for a few years, the front pages of the newspapers with the head of Berlusconi. AdM: C’mon, you had enough of us... AR: The only possible way to change my experience of art and life was avoiding witnesses who are extremely intimate, maybe too close. And as ZimmerFrei is an extremely prepared witness of my life... AR: Why did you choose Bologna? MC: I followed a girl, 25 years ago. But the girl left, and the city stayed with me. So that’s why I’m still living there. MC: And you? AdM: When I was twenty, I thought I was cosmopolitan, I could live anywhere. I lived in Paris for a couple of years, where I studied at the university Parsi VIII - Saint-Denis, but it was with Sicilian buddies I found out that I am profoundly Italian. Finally I kind of “returned” to Italy. Actually we work all over Europe, in France, in Belgium, in Holland, in Poland, where our profession exists. But I consider it a privilege to live in Italy, because it’s the only place I can stop talking and stop questioning. Language, gestures, memories, codes (the codes that talk throughout me) are bigger than me, and I feel part of the territory. I am part of the landscape. Transcription of the live presentation Città temporanee. Note a Margine at the festival Image de Ville in Aix-en-Provence, 13 November 2015
the hill â–Ş copenhagen â–Ş metropolis 2011
Rule™ Emke Idema Theatre and Performance artist, Amsterdam
Rule™ is a game played by the audience. A political and
philosophical game, where current issues become tangible and relevant. A mini society where the majority lays down the norm, and the minority is disqualified. And where you can’t get away with not having a standpoint. Emke Idema sets the rules, but leaves the outcome in the hands of the audience. Do you let a stranger walk through your door? A strange man? A strange woman? A stranger of other ethnic origin? The leader of the game asks us questions, and we answer yes or no. The questions are about migration and illegality, and they become increasingly ambiguous. Seriousness disguised as a game. The radical artist Emke Idema uses the game format to bestow an active political role on the audience. She creates dilemmas with no rights and no wrongs. She puts our tolerances, ethics and humanity to the test. She shifts our personal boundaries. You decide, as long as you are part of the majority. So, how do you vote? Ideologically? Pragmatically? To win the game – and the power?
I Demokratiets Navn / IN THE NAME OF DEMOCRACY Steen & Hejlesen with Den Sorte Skole Media and Performance artists, Copenhagen
Performer and director Thomas Hejlesen has been collaborating with scenographer Nina Steen in many performance based works. Recently they started to work with digital media and in particular video mapping which is a rapidly growing art format, where spatial and architectural forms, narratives and visual design combine. Their time based and performative perspective manages to create a subtly human and fragile dimension in the work, which can be both emotionally charged and highly symbolic, where the scale of the buildings, the city and the vastness and density of this type of work retains a balance. In 2015, the Danish Constitution celebrated its first centenary. Steen and Hejlesen marked the occasion with an artistic and cosmopolitan manifestation in front of the Copenhagen Courthouse, choreographing its architecture with cuttingedge video mapping. The courthouse, a timeless symbol of power and immortality, had its faĂ§ade deconstructed by dystopian and utopian animations questioning and highlighting the current state of democracy. Denmarkâ€™s perhaps most ground-breaking composer duo, Den Sorte Skole / The Black School, DJâ€™d live and created a dark and symphonic sound journey sampling powerful disharmonies with melancholic dreams, setting the mood for a thought-provoking midnight mass in the heart of the city. A post-modern homage to the city.
landscapes a dominoes â–Ş copenhagen â–Ş metropolis 2015
Landscapes and Artscapes
Interview with Julian Maynard Smith
defined space and the actions defined the space and gave it character. So performative space is very different from architectural space.
Julian Maynard Smith is the artistic director of Station House Opera who created the opening piece Dominoes for Metropolis 2013. The piece involves installing a line with 7000 breeze blocks though the city. Dominoes has so far been installed in 12 cities including London, Stockholm, Rennes, Ljubljana, Marseille and Melbourne.
Your work has often included boxes or objects of standard elements e.g. breeze blocks as in ‘Dominoes’ or structures, which are composed of many smaller parts. These “everyday objects” are often anonymous and humble. Is this just as much a statement about “art work” as it is a practical approach?
Julian, your work over the past 30 years has always included aspects of visual arts, performance and architecture and lately also the use of digital media to create yet another layer in your pieces. How would you describe your aesthetic language?
The language is one of space and the ways to occupy it. But there is also the mind behind the language, the thought processes that generate the space, which themselves sometimes become part of the language. Space can be changed almost by thought. You are creating your own space and imagining. For me, spaces are essentially fictional. The dualism of mind and body in a key aspect, like a lot of my media based work, suggesting that there is always a double version. What we may see individually are also different versions. This becomes part of the dynamic of the work. I’ve always been interested in architecture and spaces. This is in fact my point of departure. The question of nonillusory space is questionable and I prefer space that reflects or expresses the mind. And space can be personal and I constantly need to reshape the space in which I find myself. And by space I include the things and people in it of course. In your work, you try to expand space as it was and, as opposed to an architectural approach, you do not try to contain it, nor define it or limit it. I do not try to exclude space. I have though worked with the concept of tiny and enclosed spaces in which furniture
Objects are like words. Each one is humble, ordinary, recycled, everyday. But in combination they make unique (unprecedented) complex objects. The means (visible object/ mechanism) co-exist with the end. It is hard to pay attention to one without seeing the other. The brush-stroke and the painting. Making something special from the cheap and ordinary is a political act. ‘Dominoes’ is a concept which needs to be translated and integrated into every city you work in. It always surprises me how much the piece does in fact become part of the fabric of the city almost immediately. How do you explain this? It is integral to the act of building, and so to the specific city where it is situated. How it deals with the detail – going up a curb or across a bench is a specific response to ground as it is. It responds to specific challenges and opportunities – sculptural/architectural, institutional, and social/personal. It is physical evidence of an engagement with every specific location visited or passed through. There is something in your work, which is extremely playful, whether this is playing with multiple characters on stage, hanging people sitting on a kitchen table upside down, or playing a game of dominoes large scale. This sense of absurd and child games must be an important part of your work? It makes us look at the detail and the city in another way, and it cuts across the lines of the city. Forcing people to take another angle when they look at the city. It is disturbing the
Landscapes and Artscapes
amager torv, copenhagen â–Ş metropolis 2013
gammeltorv, copenhagen â–Ş metropolis 2013
Landscapes and Artscapes
city, and as you say, playing is important. Yes, we are like a delinquent child…. jumping through windows and falling off balconies. In a practical sense, it is much about details and caring about details. The work is essentially anti-behavioural and a plea for more playfulness in the city, in the broadest sense of the term. “I’ve never seen Melbournites smile so much” was a quote we were met with. It is important in relation to how the city is being privatised. London has only owned space. Everywhere on the South Bank is privately owned. You can only buy coffee. You can only be a consumer. This work is of course about reclaiming the city as public space regardless. The work involves setting up thousands of blocks through the city in one continuous line and this of course challenges the city – permissions to get into buildings, blocking roads, etc. How much is this preparation actually part of the performance? People don’t just see the half-hour of the fall, but a whole day of setting up. They are aware of an event slowly spreading through the city, taking it over. They see people setting up the blocks, guarding the line while talking to the public about it, and clearing it all up at the end. This is being done by people like themselves, not technicians in black clothes like stagehands or roadies. Gaining the permissions, etc. is part of the process, but this is a subsidiary by-product of the disruption caused to the city by the blocks, which is an aim of the event, to play with the city, to display slightly delinquent behaviour rather than the business like organisation of materials and products that characterises the physical city. This disruption/engagement is imposed or created by the people building the line, the volunteers, who are ordinary inhabitants of the city, who for one day are given leave to break the rules and to make something together, which stretches across a wide area of the city. The engagement of the volunteers, and through them the general public in the city, is perhaps the most important part of the event. It is a
social or communal installation. What does ‘Dominoes’ say about the city, and what do you want to say about the city…as a phenomenon? From looking at it to being part of it, becoming immersed in the city. Re-engaging people in their own cities. Yes, this is part of the phenomenon. It is just as much a social installation as a physical. It took me a while to really appreciate this aspect. The interaction between the public and the line. It is the line of people, the people following the work and the volunteers, which are important. They are actually building something in the city. They use the same building blocks. Looking at the piece in this light, this is about the right to manifest being part of the city. How do you define the route in the city, and how does this in fact capture the essence of the character of each city? The rightness of the route lies in its invisibility. What I mean is that it becomes part of the city…it moulds with the city. If it is always interacting with the fabric of the city and with people’s lives, it is doing its job. If it takes an age to travel in a straight line down a long empty street, it is not. It often has to work against the evident character of a city, to find locations which are perhaps not typical. It works by bringing the unfamiliar to one’s notice as well as making the familiar unfamiliar. Changing the perceptions of the streets and buildings. The ‘uniqueness’ of the place is seen more in how it contrasts with the line of blocks, which are uniform and universal. Local ‘colour’ and character emerge through their specific entanglement with the blocks. The street life and architecture of the city are noticed because the noticeability of the blocks running through them. Do you feel that the work has been too entertaining, too playful and missing a more radical approach? Yes, in a way the freedom is interesting, but the negotiating is also interesting, trying to challenge and to get into closed and protected spaces. This is very different from city to city. In Copenhagen, it is obvious that there is a high respect for the individual in the city and the openness of public institutions.
This is not the case in other cities and we have therefore a chance to challenge the notion of public space. The work deals with the very simple sensations that come from existing in the world. The orderliness of how we learn to behave is undermined â€“ maybe this resembles the play of a child who has yet to learn to keep that order. I tend to use my own emotional response to the world to experiment with form, for instance to find a way to occupy it in terms of space or behaviour, rather than riffing off current artistic practice. But underlying that response is not a purely childish sense of course. A large part of the response is political. The avantgarde can be inscrutable and unpopular or it can be wildly popular. We tend to forget the avantgarde origins of many popular art forms.
Dominoes says the city is a connected place and that the boundaries and property lines that divide it into private patches of commercialised land are impositions on the idea of a mutual, civic space. Cities are becoming more and more privatised. The piece says this as much through the people making it and watching it as through the physical form itself. It does of course have antecedents in the shape of the derive and the psychogeography, and I think it is in sympathy with contemporary political movements such as the Occupy movement. They are all intended to deconstruct the city as the possession and plaything of private power and finance. There is no public land left in central London for instance. What looks like public open space is in fact privately owned and managed, and behaviour is highly circumscribed and commercialised within those areas. If Dominoes suggests to people different ways of moving through the city and using its spaces and connecting to each other, that is wonderful.
amager torv, copenhagen â–Ş metropolis 2013
In this kind of ephemeral and time based artwork, which disappears, do you think that people have a memory of another city â€Ś of a possible city? Every time I walk past the courthouse or the cathedral I have images of people running alongside falling down blocks and this of course disrupts the formality and authority of these institutions. Is the work also a deconstruction of the city as a payer of power/influence?
Landscapes and Artscapes
Interview with marco canevacci
In 1999 I finished my studies in architecture at the Technical University of Berlin and started to work with pneumatic structures, probably the easiest way to build temporary space. You have designed and built many pneumatic structures, and they are often inserted into the city. They disturb the existing, offer alternative spaces, interfere and generate movement patterns, etc. In other words, you are restaging the city. Is this something you are aware of? Do you consciously reprogramme the city and make it a place to explore?
Marco Canevacci is the founder of Plastique Fantastique, a Berlin based group of creative subjects that plays with the potentiality of urban context . Plastique Fantastique created the project Aeropolis for Metropolis 2013.
Where does your interest and passion for temporary and pneumatic structures come from, Marco? The main fascination comes from my unique experience of moving to Berlin in the early 90â€™s. In 1991, the eastern centre of town - especially the Mitte neighborhood - was mostly empty, offering a surreal political void. It took some years before the western state controlled the eastern one. Those were the years of anarchy, and we had the chance to use urban space as we wanted to. But nobody knew for how long. Some situations lasted for years, others only a couple of hours, and we accepted those conditions as a base to enjoy the freedom of ephemeral environments.
Many pneumatic projects become interesting once you start to play with the surrounding area. A perfect geometric architecture placed in the middle of a square may have high aesthetic value, but I prefer to look for a contact between the temporary and the existing space. Both spaces can start a sensual relationship by touching each other. I consider four different options. Î&#x;ne option is to place a pneumatic structure in a narrow path and inflate it until it gets squeezed against its borders. You can also place a tubular environment around a building, giving birth to an urban piercing. A structure comes out of a building and becomes its extension. A fourth option is to place a bubble over the existing context, ingesting it.
Landscapes and Artscapes
By transforming a specific urban context for a limited lapse of time, the temporal architectural experience helps to perceive and interpret the neighborhood in a different way in order to question and transform it. Working with temporary structures also gives you as a designer/architect the freedom to work without set typologies and lots of rules and regulations, which hardly create unique and individual designs. How do you feel about that? I think there is something magical about a structure popping up in 20 minutes and at the same time disappearing, so you can create an extra architecture in a very short timeframe. I’m interested in this because standard architecture projects take minimum two years to be realised. I do have many friends who are architects, and there is always the possibility that in the meantime you have developed a different view of your project. There is an important aspect of “do it yourself” in your approach. Is this intentional, and what is the purpose of encouraging this aspect of creating one’s own space and being responsible for it? The first structure was conceived in 1999 by a group of four friends who built it alone with the help of a small vacuum sealer, whose function was to endure the conservation of vegetables by having them hermetically closed into a plastic bag before stocking them inside a freezer. The budget was less than 100€, and the result was amazing. In the last couple of years, I held several workshops in different universities - architecture, design and arts - on the topic of temporary urban intervention. A workshop may last one or two weeks, and the goal is to share the know-how of ephemeral construction by giving the students the basic knowledge of “bubble engineering”. The result is a 1:1 model designed by using technology (3D software) and handcrafts (scissors and tape) to merge together the different patterns of the pneumatic space.
The lightweight structure you designed for Metropolis was designed and utilized for 13 different locations and 13 different activities. The fact that it is transparent is highly interesting as the most tented structures, containers etc. are solid and closed. Tell us a bit more about the element of visibility in your concept, where there is an open space in the open space, and where the separation of indoor/outdoor and public/private is only a thin sheet of plastic. The architecture of the 100 sq m single-layer pneumatic structure Aeropolis has been designed to allow maximal mobility and flexibility during its Metropolis tour through 13 different locations in Copenhagen. Furthermore the transparent installation was always squeezed between the existing environments (climbing walls, trees, buildings, etc.). As a result, the architecture transformed itself into 13 different shapes to enhance the local experience. Aeropolis is a loupe, which helps to reflect public and private space and interchange experiences. The construction material - a plastic film of 0,3 mm - defines a transparent border which invites people who don’t know each other to interact, communicate and interchange the experience of being inside and outside the ephemeral space and to have a “safe touch” between each other. When this border creates this connection, the gap between public and private starts to melt. How do people react in these structures? Is this almost a sense of sharing and openness or a sense of “unreal” and fantasy? Does it create a safer interaction or a sense of being in a performance as one is in fact staging people? Do you find that people get a sense of release, play and even change roles easier in these structures? Most of Plastique Fantastique’s installations focus on a peculiar area by adding layers to interpret and increase the multisensorial experience. Those synesthetic sculptures mix the notion of sound, light and architecture. Furthermore our work defines a playful environment that stimulates performative reactions within the visitors by enhancing the oneiric side of life. By inviting the visitor to enjoy the spectrum of perceptions, we try to dissolve social inhibition and enhance sensual interaction.
Landscapes and Artscapes
Radio Free Mermaid Skræp Association for Experimental and Improvised Media, Copenhagen
A harbour cruise with concerts along the quay and piers. The ferry was converted into a floating sound studio, ferrying the audience around the harbour. On board, a mix-master composed a new sound universe with sounds from the harbour’s past and present, processed and mixed with music created at 10 specific points along the harbour front and picked up and sent via radio transmitters to the ferry.
Nine experienced musicians were invited to create this soundscape, each selecting one location. They are all members of the locally legendary SKRÆP association of experimental and improvised music. Each interpretation was based on and inspired by the atmosphere in their own microuniverse. Musicians / composers: P.O. Jørgens, Irene Becker, Aviaja Lumholt, Pierre Dørge, Per Buhl Acs, Tomomi Adachi, Olga Magieres, Henning Frimann and Jørgen Teller.
The screams from the seagulls mixed with those of the guitars. Metallic percussion sculptures clonked like a dockworker’s hammer. Spindrift, vocals, propeller noise and keyboard tunes spread and turned into the harbour’s new soundscape, available only on the boat. A contemporary, symphonic and site-specific work.
Landscapes and Artscapes
180 metropolis 2015
Landscapes and Artscapes
Carlsberg, COPENHAGEN ▪ metropolis 2013
Landscape, Panorama and Panopticon bart capelle Dramaturg, Gent Karl Van Welden, Visual/Conceptual artist, Gent
“Human beings do not perceive things whole; we are not gods but wounded creatures, cracked lenses, capable only of fractured perceptions” Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands
Landscapes and Artscapes
In June 2010, I spent my first week on the island of Terschelling with artist Karl van Welden in preparation for the first in a series of site-specific projects titled SATURN. A conversation on dramaturgy takes a different course when it is able to stretch itself over time. Moreover such a conversation takes a different course when it is able to unfold in a landscape of dunes instead of a rehearsal space or theatre venue. You look at your environment as a very concrete world that consists of sky, horizon and earth, with an occasional trace of human presence. Starting from this tangible environment, you then take imaginary steps into the world outside it. The conversation becomes a stroll through a landscape of ideas, associations, memories, literature, and film. And while talking you become conscious of your own gaze. The text below is an attempt, an essay, to write this shared promenade. Seated on a throne, binoculars at hand
Two young men in grey suits are dancing together to a sedate jazz tune on an old radio receiver. They shuffle around stiffly and uneasily as developing teenagers tend to do. It is the harmonious, almost comforting final chord to an otherwise violent, almost inhumane piece of cinema. Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma still fills people with a mixture of scepticism, revulsion and fascination. In hellish circles that become ever narrower, Pasolini fires a bloody iconoclasm of images at its audience. The inferno of Salò stages historical fascism as a horrendous phantasm, which is able to run wild when power and imagination become equally unbridled. Aversion, anger and revulsion awaken when seeing the humiliating abuse of power. Feelings of resistance against the four sadistic ‘Lords’ who give rein to their passions with sixteen young victims, maybe even against the film and its creator. Moments before the scene with the two dancing boys – they are collaborators of the signori – the climax of the film has taken place. Through the window of their villa, the four Lords take turns watching how the three others subject their victims to beastly torture. Seated on a throne, binoculars at hand. Framed by the circular eyepiece of the binoculars we join them in watching the details of the torturing ritual. The series of images unfolding for our eyes pushes us outside
the fiction, outside the frame of the movie screen and – fortunately – outside identification. For a contemporary audience this distance is even greater. Pasolini’s last project feels out-dated to some; today its baroque aesthetics and semi-historical narrative seem to evoke indifference as well as disgust. However, beyond the storyline, Pasolini proposes an altogether different content. Not what we see but the fact that we are watching is put centre stage. We are looking at the – staged – pain of others. The spectator is made an accomplice and can no longer hold on to the limited role of onlooker of the spectacle. In this reading of Pasolini’s inferno, questions arise that burst the banks of the grotesque – and maybe even tasteless – scenario. Who or what is actually being shown? Who is showing? And who is watching? A false position
The final scene of Pasolini’s Salò is one of the paths we walked on during the creation process of the SATURN series. In the open-air installations, Saturn I – Landscape and Saturn II – Cityscape, a sober set-up with binoculars and performers is used in a cunning game of close-ups in an urban or natural panorama. The term cinematic certainly applies to the images in the SATURN series, but apart from that they couldn’t be more remote from Pasolini’s phantasm of horror. They lean closer to its harmonious, almost melancholic final image. The lens of a telescope reveals a scene, which the naked eye can hardly perceive. A young man dressed in black is rotating around his axis. His movement is tantalisingly slow, his shuffling almost unnoticeable. And he’s dancing alone. The minimal soundscape that accompanies him sounds through the headphones you are wearing while peering through the telescope. With his back turned to the spectator, he briefly brings to mind one of the Rückenfiguren (back figures) in Casper David Friedrich’s furious-romantic landscape paintings. But he keeps circling incessantly, and he seems to be looking for someone. Could it be the woman in white in the distance in the opposite direction, who in turn is making a slow and lonesome circle?
These two scenes are part of a series of eight tableaux-vivants. Six of these are created by performers, inscribing themselves into the landscape through minimal, repetitive movements; the other two zoom in on – and give new shape to – details in this landscape. Someone is digging a hole. Someone climbs up resolutely and then scours the horizon. Someone seems to be looking for someone else. They are frozen moments of movement that nearly fall silent. The melancholy of bodies that seem headed to immobility and lifelessness – or perhaps they are returning to life? They seem to be held captured by the circular frame of the lens and by their own circular motions. They invite you to stay seated, to keep watching. Until suddenly the woman, who was seemingly looking for someone, directs her gaze directly towards the lens. An uneasy feeling of having been caught awakens. The game of voyeurism, to which SATURN has seduced its spectator, suddenly turns against us. We are watching people who are watching. They shift our glance towards the landscape or cast it back – on us. 184
Are the roles of spectator and performer interchangeable? In this post-dramatic set-up, the centre of gravity shifts from what is happening on the ‘stage’ to that which is taking place between stage and audience. The spectator is taken out of the safety of darkness. Who or what is being shown? Who is showing? And who is watching? Panorama
from conquering the mountain by reaching the top. But doesn’t something of that feeling of power rest in the sheer sight of a landscape, in the brief illusion of seeing the whole picture, of seeing everything and everyone? In that sense, the panorama fundamentally determines a spectator’s experience of SATURN. Placed in the vast dune landscape of the Dutch island of Terschelling or in the disorienting view of the city of Ghent, the panorama offered by the central installation is an integral part of the work, as a ready-made, a ‘found landscape’. As described by Paul De Vylder in De pantoptische blik (The panoptic gaze), a mountaintop is pre-eminently the archaic topos of the divine. It is the emblematic point on earth that reaches closest to the sky, the home of the Olympic gods, the forbidden place which only Moses can enter when Yahweh speaks to him, the summit of Mount Purgatory from which Dante can enter Paradise, the place Nietzsche’s Zarathustra descends from to tell humankind of the Übermensch. It is the place par excellence of power, of the all-seeing and allknowing eye. High buildings and towers are the manmade counterparts of that divine power: from the Tower of Babel, over the Twin Towers, to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Panopticon “They are like so many cages, so many small theatres, in which each actor is alone, perfectly individualised and constantly visible.”
The eight scenes of SATURN reveal themselves to the eye when the spectator takes position in one of eight wooden cabinets equipped with binoculars and headphones. From a distance, these wooden observation posts form an alien configuration in the landscape, a contemporary Stonehenge of eight monoliths in a circle. Placed on top of a hill or a high building, the installation offers a panoramic view on the surrounding (urban) landscape. Like the staged images, the landscape invites you to stand still, to keep watching.
Not a quote from a review of SATURN, but an excerpt from Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1971). He is describing the Panopticon of Jeremy Bentham (1791), a prison design that allows continuous control by arranging the cells around a central observation tower. The panoptic set-up creates relations of power, which have no need of a concrete wielding of that power: “Power has its
The sight of a panorama still incites feelings that take a spectator’s breath away. Who has never climbed a hill and felt almighty for a brief moment? For sure, this feeling springs
Any individual can keep this machine going, and with the most various motives: “the curiosity of the indiscrete, the malice of a
principle not so much in a person as in a certain concerted distribution of bodies, surfaces, lights, gazes.”
child, the thirst for knowledge of a philosopher who wishes to
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visit this museum of human nature, or the perversity of those who take pleasure in spying and punishing.”
In SATURN it is the visitor who is tempted to keep the machine going. When we take our place in one of the observation posts, we are no longer in the space of the panorama, but in that of the panopticon. Foucault utilises the panopticon as a historical basis and as a social metaphor for contemporary disciplining society. Disciplining, for it no longer regulates by punishment following the medieval model; but it enforces its norms proactively through the inconspicuous observations and corrections of the doctor, the teacher, the police officer, the social worker. The all-seeing eye as the subtlest form of biopolitics, of invisible power that is wielded through the standardisation of biological and social life. The disciplining society no longer displays the visible and violent power of the lord on his throne who watches the punishment of his victims as in Pasolini’s Salò. It has been shifted to the panoptical gaze of everyone watching everyone, as may be read in the image of the two young guards, masters nor slaves, who avert their gaze from the violence and only have eyes for each other in a dance. “We are much less Greeks than we believe”, Foucault writes. “We are neither in the amphitheatre, nor on the stage, but in the panoptic machine (…)”. In the post-drama of SATURN,
spectator and performer have taken their place in public space. The theatricality of SATURN exists only by the grace of peering through the binoculars. Reality check
Pasolini, Friedrich, Foucault. Passers-by on our imaginary walk in the dune landscape of Terschelling. Layers of meaning moving around in a stately environment. The performance/ installation leaves much to the visitor’s own imagination. The panopticon is an entrance, a possible reading. However, during the realisation of SATURN, some small incidents arose that might reveal something of the relationship between seeing and power. On the first day of SATURN II during THE GAME IS UP!, we suddenly received notice that the game had to be stopped.
The police of Ghent had received some ten telephone calls concerning a woman on the rooftop of an apartment building on the Afrikalaan who wanted to take her own life. An error of judgement, the actress in the long white dress had been visible from the ground and from the windows of the neighbouring apartment building. The neighbours hadn’t been notified of our activities. The competent authorities demanded an immediate migration of the performer or an annulation of the whole event. The performer’s presence on the rooftop proved to be problematic in two aspects. The actress’ activity apparently fell under the denominator ‘street theatre’, and no permission had been requested for such activity. But does the name street theatre still apply when the spectators are more or less 2 kilometres away from the performer? Moreover, her act was insufficiently recognisable as ‘theatre’ for neighbours and passers-by (doesn’t that contradict the first argument?) and led to a series of anxious yet unfounded warnings to the police, therefore: ‘disruption of public order’. The lady in white was moved to the roof of art centre Vooruit, from where she would only be visible to the spectators for whom her appearance was intended. On day three of the run in Ghent, it was the siren of an ambulance that broke the atmosphere. This time concerned neighbours had informed local authorities of the presence of an endearing young lady, dressed as in a Hitchcock film. For some days she had been hanging around purposely and dazedly on a stretch of wasteland underneath the Keizerviaduct. It cost the performer in question some effort to convince the EMTs of her sanity –“I’m sure someone is
watching your moves from two kilometres away, Miss, now if you’d come with us.” A second time the spokes were kept out
of the wheel and after some negotiations, the Hitchcock lady could continue her task. Day four proved problematic for the performer in the black suit, who was slowly turning around his axis on the rooftop of the ICC by the Citadelpark. For this implantation in public space, the necessary considerations had been made: this Casper David Friedrich figure was not visible from the ground.
Yet the police had still received a call concerning a worrying appearance. An overenthusiastic concerned citizen had spotted him from his window with his own personal set of binoculars. Perhaps then SATURN does not exist solely by the grace of its intended audience. Interventions in public space have been part of artistic practices for quite some time now. From Augusto Boal’s ‘invisible theatre’ and the Situationists’ idea of ‘dérive’ in the 1950s and 60s to the multitude of contemporary ‘artactivists’, ‘interventionists’ and other playful infiltrators of public space. Artistic/activist devices such as the flash mob have already found their way into popular culture and marketing. Dance as entertainment is a clearly readable convention, even in a place and time that might not (or no longer) be intended for this purpose. But do the same codes apply to stillness, to immobility?
Is a young lady wandering around on a stretch of wasteland for a couple of afternoons a reason for public concern because her performance – or rather: her lack of performance – threatens to subvert public space by an improper use of it? Or is the subversive element situated in the non-productiveness of the act itself? None of the passers-by or neighbours felt called upon to approach her and simply ask what was going on. Reality and staging start blending considerably when the melancholic game of the performers cannot be broken by a spectator nearby. The merit of a good actress? A sense of public responsibility or a lack thereof? A symptom of a community that watches, that measures, that doesn’t ask questions but regulates? Minor incidents, very small storms in a teacup in the end. Somewhat funny even when you are observing the reactions of passers-by as seen through a candid camera. The presence of the performers in public space is disrupting for some, surprising for others. With their silenced movements the players mark out a space, a different kind of space, a temporary heterotopia that is governed by different social codes. Presence in ambiguity.
The empty throne
If Pasolini could still subvert the prevailing visual culture in 1975 by staging the excesses of the power relations it creates, then today the impact of this aggressive visual language seems to have weakened. The small incidents surrounding SATURN II in the city centre of Ghent suggest that the potential of subversion lies in the refusal of a conventional production of images; in stillness, in movements which are not progressive nor productive, but aimless and circular. American poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson describes the relation between the circle, the landscape and the divine as follows: “The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end. St. Augustine described the nature of God as a circle whose centre was everywhere, and its circumference nowhere.”
Dante Alighieri’s Paradise and Inferno are both built up out of nine concentric circles – these also inspired Pasolini when he divided his hell of Salò into three circles. From a bird’s eye view, the constellation of SATURN consists of two concentric circles in the landscape: the smaller circle of observation posts in the centre, surrounded by the performers in a larger circle. Like the planet Saturn, orbited by satellites and rock fragments. Like the old god Saturn, king of the Titans, seated on his throne and watching his brothers and sisters. No one is seated in the centre of SATURN’s circle. No mythological deity, no all-seeing supreme being, no emperor, no sadist lord. The throne is empty; the spectator is invited to ascend it and to watch. And his gaze is all but neutral. The thematisation and subversion of the medium cinema, as used in Salò, is carried through and transposed in SATURN as a panoptic machine of spectators and actors. The way we watch determines what we see – our relationship to others, to a community, to the world. And the world looks back.
Carlsberg, COPENHAGEN â–ª metropolis 2013 Landscapes and Artscapes
Walking and Se 188
fugit â–Ş vesterbro, copenhagen â–Ş metropolis 2015
Walking and Sensing The City
ensing The City 189
interview with kitt johnson 190
Kitt Johnson is a dancer, choreographer and the artistic director of X-act, one of the longest existing, most productive dance companies in Denmark. In collaboration with 12 performers, Kitt Johnson created the project 12 for Metropolis 2015.
When did you start working “outside of the black box” and why? Well, it was a very specific situation of ‘need to’ rather than anything else. It was very early in my career in the middle of the 80’s, and I was not even what you might call a professional. I was travelling in Europe and I needed money, so I decided to try to do something in the street. I was together with a friend in Paris and soon we decided to turn this street performing into a laboratory. What I found and still find thrilling is the fact that creating work for non-conventional art spaces means anchoring your work in an unprotected reality, a reality that does not need you and thus you are forced to become really sharp on your choices. Your role is not given, you have to invent it. This often brings about thematics that you would not have found in the protected art space.
You have worked yourself on site-specific work and also created works for and with other artists. How is your process when you find a place that you want to explore? Do you have a set methodology, timetable, or how is this structured? I work with mapping and often define a conceptual way of working with a specific place. I have a flexible methodology with the same three core ingredients in this “mapping”: The Walk – The Talk – The Archive Dive. I always walk first. This can be planned and very structured along lines or systems, or it can be a derive, where I wander and am lead by intuition and incident. It can last a few hours or all day. Sometimes I work with the concept of a 24 hour stay as well in order to be immersed in the environment and sense the different situations through the day and night. I then engage in a dialogue with the place and its inhabitants. Again, this can be informal. Speaking with people I meet in the streets, in shops or in backyards. It can also be appointments set up with people who know about the place and have insight and knowledge from various perspectives. The archive dive is what I can resource – on the web, in books/libraries, gathering information and statistics, plans and historic maps. It gives me the framework for the project. These mappings give me knowledge covering geography, topography, geology, architecture, ownership, social
Walking and Sensing The City
refshaleĂ¸en â–Ş metropolis 2015
192 refshaleøen ▪ metropolis 2015
Walking and Sensing The City
economic hierarchy, demographic structure, psycho geography, personal and collective memory, functions of the place, mythology, history, phenomenology, sensorial character, conflict zones, conflict themes and so on. I note all these things down in my notebook, and I share these observations with the participants/performers or others engaging in the project. I also mix them up and restructure them, of course. This is in fact a huge sharing exercise. Having read all this, it then dissolves gradually into the work. What is it that interests you about working in nonconventional places in general? I actually do work in formal places too, and the range of these places includes shops, parking lots, formal squares and even shopping centres. So it can be extremely codified places where it is challenging to break the codifications or behaviour and open people’s eyes as to the in-between spots or the hidden places within these often stereotype places. One is always looking for the hidden potential. I am aware that in some places my own body would not function, so it is also a question of fitting and being able to link to a place identity. This can be a situation of harmony or of antagonism, but there must be a dynamic present. Otherwise it does not work. I know where my strengths are, and I also know my limits. This leads to a question of how you think we orientate ourselves in the city and how we negotiate with the city as humans/citizens/guests. Your approach offers an alternative, sensorial approach where the city as we know is perhaps dissolved, and where the city as a vision/illusion/memory comes to life. Is this also a comment on how we go about trying to give places an “identity” and “function” but in fact we may be losing the essence of the city? The sensorial approach serves as an opening of the senses. It is really just a tool for becoming present in the world, in a here-and-now, in a specific place. The sensorial is our channel to a larger consciousness, giving us the possibility to change
routine and unreflected behaviour in the city. This approach allows for an empowerment of the individual. What kinds of places or spaces interest you and how do you find them? I am attracted to places that carry many layers of information, of imprints, of historical as well as contemporary imprints of lived life. As well as places that have a strong mythology, sometimes one-sided, sometimes distorted – how to reopen a discussion on its actual identity and to point out potential new identities. If a place is also terminal, it makes it, in my eyes, even more interesting. You can give it one last tribute as well as a critical eye on the circumstances of its termination. Such spaces are found by just being alert to the surroundings. I feel quite strongly about the nature of permanence and fluidity in our society, and so I often find myself drawn to places, which are on the edge – of change, of the city, of defined territories. These are spaces that may disappear. History and heritage are super important. We have to act responsibly in the world, and by positioning art in such places, we are touching on sensitive issues where often no one else questions the development. This was in fact particularly clear with the work on Refshaleøen, which is a unique place in Copenhagen that invites us to consider another, softer and more sensitive, approach to change. Cultural acupuncture is a term I often use. Do you see your work in this term? Yes I do. I have made projects in Nørrebro for example with Mette Ingvartsen, where she created a magical garden amid drug dealers and Romanian criminal bands, who took over a playground. By a soft, playful counteraction, we made the park once again open and accessible and changed the flow of the place. I feel that we planted seeds, which hopefully will grow. So yes. Understanding precisely where the key issues create potentially dynamic situations is important for the dramaturg of the city. Do you think that experiencing a work in a site-specific environment adds a layer of “reality” which strengthens the
experience, as that one is “immersed” in the situation and not just “watching” the situation? On a physiological level one will always be immersed in a situation. Our mirror neurons and central nervous system will ensure that. It takes an act of will not to be immersed. Speaking about reality, it can sometimes be so demanding on our senses that it actually leaves only a limited space for the ‘situation’ to take place. In such a case, it is up to the artist to design a work that embraces this specific reality. One creates a (performed/imagined) space within a (real) space, but there must be a relationship, and this is always complex and layered of course. One must find the right balance between the real and the imagined. Speaking about the sensorial, I see this as an opening or as a pathway. Not as a goal in itself. Opening the senses allows you to perceive more broadly. This state allows the performer to take audiences into other mental spaces. 194
Audiences react differently in public space, and the relationship between the audience and the performers is also dynamic. However, it does create a kind of breaking point to be freer and to have more interactions. I am getting away from the formal idea of audience and actor. There is an exchange in public space and a juxtaposition, and we can go in and out of this situation. The position of the local – and the local people – is a key factor for me. When we perform in public space, we are also speaking about territories. There are clearly issues of ownership and power structures in public space. Everything is in fact territory. I feel that I have ownership of the small public park by my house and the space I park my bike. The bench across the road is occupied by drunken people every day at the same time, and they have ownership. So in every situation one must identify these territories. I believe in trying to negotiate ownership, so I must enter a dialogue. I need permission to do certain things. I worked on Blågårds Plads, and local youths started to annoy us when we were rehearsing. They were obviously bored and started throwing
small stones. They were also defending territory. However, when I quietly told them that we had talked to Atilla, who was a key figure in the local youth culture, they immediately became helpful and friendly. It is about building relationships and getting beyond the stereotyping. So the process of creating work in public space also becomes part of the ‘piece’ as I see it. Where does the art start and where does it end, that is not at all clear. It is a shared space and a shared process and a dialogue in both senses. Site specific does not quite cover this. Perhaps situation specific is a more precise name for it. Can all artists work in the public space, or are there specific criteria and a specific attitude that is a pre-requisite? I am thinking here of the performance “12” you created for Refshaleøen for Metropolis Festival 2015 with 12 individual performers. As regards the performance 12, this was a very special work. We invited artists with various skills and techniques. Many of the prerequisites are the same as working in a black box actually. This is also a space you must know. However, there must be a willingness to meet reality and not impose oneself on the place. And you must be open and prepared for dialogues, also with the other actors, as each voice has to be particular but also part of a whole. In such a situation, my role is as a guide, mentor and prompter. The process started by each of the 12 actors finding ‘their’ space in the terrain, and from these specific points of reference, we started. There is a clear trend that artists are reengaging in society, and the public domain is a key aspect of this. Do you sense this? Art trends or movements come and go. Yes, art is deeply related to society in that art is a reaction to human and social conditions, so of course art has a role to play in society. Thus there is this movement at this time in particular, when many artists are engaging and reacting as human beings first and as artists secondly, I feel. It is an act of empowerment.
Walking and Sensing The City
refshaleĂ¸en â–Ş metropolis 2015
Phoenix by Wunderland: all labels fit, all labels fall down Rita Sebestyén Performance Company, Aarhus
One by one, getting some simple and rigorously explained rules from a team‐member of the Wunderland group, we start a journey of real and virtual territories, made up by city landscapes and the coastal scenery, mythological and fairytale sets and also closed spaces (tents, trucks, pubs, boats). And, as this time the performance is performed for professional visitors and artists of the Nordic Performing Art Days, this is also a funny coincidence in which a temporary community is outlining throughout the performance. Phoenix, the production of a nine-member international team
called Wunderland and residing in Aarhus is site‐specific theatre in the broadest possible meaning of the term1; from its nature tackling environmental aesthetics, some parts of it based on resident‐tourist connexions, and at least once we as partakers participate in the experience to actually create ephemeral art. The audience is turned into co‐creators by a definite gesture from the very beginning – even earlier, I would say, as finding the location, the starting point from which we start our own, very subjective route, can be regarded as ground zero; the point we have to reach in order to start. The harbour we are invited to reveals several layers of time, progressively – and maybe somewhat aggressively – unfolding city reconstruction plans: on one hand small
streets of fishermen’s cottages and ambulatory selling points of fresh fish, on the other hand huge concrete blocks of flats just being built, and in front of them even the seabed is reined by concrete grounds. The bay embraced by the old and new, the natural and high‐tech environment is dwelled by small tarnished boats, and this time of the year – being early but already sun‐drenched summer – inhabited by often cheerfully loud companies. Already full of sharp contradictions, inspirational terrain for the Wunderland group and for our next hour’s experience, this landscape will open up for short monologues, poems and experiences closely tied to mythology and concepts related to the sea2. The starting point is a trailer from which we will get an interactive sound system with a GPS. With the headset on, from the very first moment we are cut from the sound of the harbour (a mixed background noise of the waves of the sea , the industrial din of the construction and some of the bigger fishing boats), and the voice of the guide will lead us through the curlicue ways of the performance. When entering into a closed location – a tent or a boat – we have to leave the headset on the threshold and are awaited by one of the artists to go through the next experience. The voice of the guide leads us from one station to another giving explicit directions, and also a very scattered white line – sometimes paint, sometimes white pebbles leading through the uneven ground of the harbour – shows us the way to the next scene. One accentuated moment is marked by the voice of the narrator that leads us to a chair out in the open air with a view both to the natural and the high‐tech surroundings and tells a lyrical short story by a contemporary writer (I assume), and even the recorded noise of the sea can be heard as a soundtrack boundary between the real and the virtual, the natural and the artificial setting – a text– and soundscape as the company itself says in their own presentation3.
Walking and Sensing The City
refshaleĂ¸en â–Ş metropolis 2015
refshaleøen ▪ metropolis 2015
Walking and Sensing The City
The tents, boats, the track, the pub, the secluded part of the shore are all settings organised in an alternating space- time‐experience pace as the co‐creator and event‐traveller will go through a series of scenes that are triggered by their own presence and very often cannot take place without their own acting. All small scenes recall bits – characters, scenes, short stories – from the Nordic mythology, Christianity, own tales and mixtures of elements of stories and persona. We are actually introduced to a one‐hour long series of rituals, more or less personal ones, more or less leading towards different inner worlds, imagination, states of mind. In the first tent, that is very similar to a Mongolian yurta, I am actually shocked by the ninja-ish dancer’s hidden face, black robe, vivid eyes. I am actually led into a short spiral route that brings me barefoot to a small vessel with water to wash my feet. No words at all, I have to find out what the dancer wants me to do – but a simple, unambiguous setting and invitational gestures make it very easy. The obstacle I have to overcome here is the somewhat shivering fear raised by the hidden face of the actor/dancer. In contrast, the very last tent will be a huge and orange two-‐storey playground of powder‐like sand in which I have to descend on a steep ladder. Here I am awaited by an actor dressed in orange, encouraging me to throw the sand on the walls of the tent so that the whole construction is trembling and producing the noise of heavy and dense raindrops – in a way combining in this very last station the two elements that played a focal role throughout the whole route: water and sand, but one could even extend it to air as well, or even to all the four (or five) cosmic elements, if you will. One of the most outstanding still more than minimalist moments of our own creation is the lighthouse with the unusual guestbook that invites us to write down everything that we see. From the distant spots in the sea to the description of the interior of the lighthouse and passers‐by, there is an avalanche that embraces even former descriptions and reflections growing into a contextual, self‐referring mega‐ text. Once during my route I am surprised to be able to jump into a rocking boat in the sea that is very small, heavily moving
and scarily on the verge of falling apart. Still that calm voice gets me to step without hesitation on to the extremely unstable ground of that particular node – where my only task is to lean back and watch the skies above, switch off the headset to be able to hear the waves of the sea. A short meditation that none of us leaves out – as I later interview my colleagues during the next days theoretical session. On the other hand, the narratives that rise in our heads differ strikingly, depending on predisposition, knowledge, own fears and imagination, almost as if we were taking part in totally different performance-routes. The stories we make up, the texts and the sound we hear, and what we add on or leave out from our own narratives will lead to hundreds or thousands of performances – corresponding to the number of participants. Excerpt of Routes inside and outside our heads, the Aarhus-section of the Nordic Performing Arts Days (9-21 June 2014)
199 Notes: 1. According to Hunter and Klein, in site-specific performances artists use the location as inspirational stimulus for the conceptualisation of their intervention. See: Hunter, Victoria (2005). Embodying the Site: the Here and Now in Site‐Specific dance performance, New Theatre Quarterly, 21 (4) (November 2005), 367-381., and Klein, Jennie (2007). Performance, Post-‐border Art and Urban Geography, PAJ: Journal of Performance and Art 86, 29 (2), May 2007, 31‐39. 2. Stock draws our attention to the fact that in case of a promenade‐ style performance intervention, the real or ‘everyday’ is intermingled with the suspended time of the theatrical experience: Stock, Cheryl F. (2011) Creating new narratives through shared time and space: the performer/audience connection in multi‐site dance events. In Caldwell, Linda (Ed.) In Time Together: Viewing and Reviewing Contemporary Dance Practice: Refereed Proceedings of the World Dance Alliance Global Summit 2010, World Dance Alliance‐Americas under the auspices of the Texas Woman’s University Website, New York University, New York. 3.http://www.wunderland.dk/index.php/about-w underland (Accessed: 18.08.2014.)
DEAFENING SILENCE KUMULUS Performance Company, Avignon
A container holds the surplus from the modern city. The rubbish. But among the piles of rubbish is a group of people. The redundant. Dusty clown-like figures, looking like they’ve just exited from a Beckett drama. Like a flock of living dead they are superfluous in today’s useand-throw-away society. But armed with an iron will, they seek to create beauty and purpose amid the loneliness. In a wordless ritual they drag the remains of their life around. A window, a globe, a cage, a spoon, a sock… all whilst the rubbish composes its own symphony like a soundtrack for this tragicomic allegory of the consumer society.
CARLSBERG BYEN ▪ metropolis 2013
The performance company Kumulus is characterised by their social commitment, expressed with strong realism and a fragile sensitivity. This performance is a thought-provoking dystopia, which may not be so distant after all.
Walking and Sensing The City
COOPERATZÌA: THE TRAIL LE G. BISTAKI Performance Company, Toulouse
A group of mysterious men dressed in long coats guided the audience into a deserted cinematic landscape in between run-down industrial buildings at the edge of the city. Only lit by a few lamps, they took people through the twilight to a place covered by a huge amount of tiles, all laid out like a carpet and shaped like urban sculptures. Suddenly tiles flew all over the place. They juggled them, threw them to the ground and trampled them with their feet until they broke into a thousand pieces. A mix of urban new circus and decadent dance in the middle of Refshaleøen’s industrial wasteland.
refshaleøen ▪ metropolis 2013
Walking and Sensing The City
The Baïna Trampa Fritz Fallen
LE G. BISTAKI
Performance Company, Toulouse
Armed with shovels, five tons of corn and dressed in colonialists’ whiter than white suits, the four performers were an odd sight in the old industrial harbour in Nordhavn among containers and dunes of gravel. Ruthless and cheeky like rascals in an American western, Le G. Bistaki did their wacky voodoo rituals, surreal video projections, passionate tango and fiery fights. Amusing postmodernism, like straight out of a crazy dream.
NORDHAVN ▪ metropolis 2015
Walking and Sensing The City
EMPTY STEPS GLIMT Performance Artists, Copenhagen
In GLiMTâ€™s performance about street kids and their worldwide fight against their fate, the language is physical and visual. Two street kids have barricaded themselves against the world behind piles of old clothes. All the days are the same. With their noses deep inside the bags of glue they disappear into hazy dreams, and for a short while they are kept afloat. But what happens once the intoxication has worn off? Is it worth waiting for?
Walking and Sensing The City
tape riot asphalt piloten Mixed-Media Artists, Biel
Asphalt Piloten is a company of individual artists from different artistic and geographic backgrounds. It is an artistic open cell designed as an inventive space for multidisciplinary encounters. The format is physical interventions, often in liminal spaces where codes of conduct are predetermined. They experiment with structural forms to explore differences, prompt encounters, curiosity and cultural openness. Conceived for public space and always with relation to the architecture, the often improvised works persist in changing perceptions to transform the status quo, shifting the outlook on urban everyday life. The artistic approach is always contextual and non-verbal, using the language of the body, music and visual art.
“The tape marks out shapes on the floor and the metro platform. Some people are trying to avoid the tape, dancing and jumping around between stripes of duct tape on the concrete floor. One of the performers is hanging lifelessly over the check-in machine. A traveller fumblingly tries to reach the machine and involuntarily becomes part of the performance. The dancers are glued to the elevator glass. Like magnets they are stuck there, while new stripes are made around their dancing bodies. The tape creates new perspectives, like a parallel city within the city. The soundscape changes and merges with the mechanical rhythm from the metro doors. The movement is stringent, balanced and controlled, just like the shapes appearing on the concrete, which come to life through the tape. Together the performers build new spaces and new perspectives.” Published 28.08.2016 on metropolisfestival.wordpress.com by Siri Astrup
FREDERIKSBERG METRO STATION ▪ metropolis 2015
Asphalt Piloten takes public space as a playground. The artistic approach is site-specific and ephemeral by nature. Though the artistic signature remains constant, each individual performance is inspired by the architectural detail. The result is temporary urban collages spiced with music, mixed live with the sounds of the city, all while the dancers’ choreography and improvisations interrupt the city’s everyday rhythm. Founded in Berlin’s anarchistic art scene, Asphalt Piloten is the closest you get to mobile pop-up action art.
Walking and Sensing The City
Engram Osynliga Teatern Media Artists, Stockholm
The soundtrack for this walk is made up of memories and reflections unfolding while the audience walks the narrow streets of Copenhagen. The voices on the soundtrack were recorded just a few days before the persons on the tape passed away. They lay bare their lives in sound memos recorded for us who are still alive. The story is not just about them, but about all of us.
The walk is an intimate radio documentary in a live setting, offering you the chance to reflect on your own life and all the things we take for granted. It encourages you to reflect upon what you would miss the most about life if you had just 640 breaths left â€“ and to live as if there is no tomorrow.
Walking and Sensing The City
fugit KAMCHÀTKA Theatre Company, Barcelona
It is all the time about looking out, running, ducking and hiding behind each street corner and each battered dumpster. What else now that we are on the run, the whole bunch of beefy Metropolis spectators. Fugit is about people on the run in a way where you can feel it in your whole body: the haunting restlessness, the collective vulnerability, the dust in the nose and the gratefulness for a piece of bread. Behind the performance is Catalan street company Kamchàtka: 10 people dressed in dark suits and ladies’ coats, each carrying a suitcase…
This is a game, but with an underlying insisting seriousness. The way the constant feeling of haunting unrest and vulnerability spread to the whole body, I got a different, approximate feeling of what it means to be on the run, better communicated here than what a lot of informative articles about the destinies of refugees can do. It was also educational on a broader and more existential level where it is not necessarily about refugees, but about feeling how quickly you surrender to the community and let that guide you – even blindfolded in a single file crossing a road, sensing the cars driving by. Merciless, yes – but there was also a feeling of safety in the community. The embracing humanity is basically what Kamchàtka excels at, mind you, in a politically proactive sense… Excerpts from the review ”Kuffertfolk og proformaflygtninge” by Monna Dithmer in Politiken 18.08.2015
Vesterbro ▪ metropolis 2015
Off we go in small groups that suddenly split up only to meet again to be transported a bit further in a bus, hidden under sheets. Disorientation is increasing. You feel vulnerable, no mobile phone, no driver’s license or anything else that can identify you, lost in a maze of dodgy escape routes, transforming a Copenhagen district into a dark, strange territory. Constantly new suitcase people are appearing, from behind a container or an iron gate, or waving us into a momentary shelter in a basement….
Walking and Sensing The City
Looking for Courage OperaNord & Sifenlv New Media Studio Performing Arts and Media Studio, Copenhagen and Beijing
Looking for Courage was an intercultural and interdisciplinary project involving multimedia artists and performers from China, Denmark and Europe, culminating in a site-specific promenade performance, around the Tietgen Dormitory in Ørestad. The final performance also engaged with a large group of residents and citizens living in the neighbourhood. After the presentation in Copenhagen, the performance was adapted to LifeHub Mall in Shanghai.
The story The story of Looking for Courage revolves around the search of identity. It was inspired by documentary material from the Chinese student rebellion. The idea for the main character was based on the expelled female student leader Chai Ling, who fled Beijing on the night of the student massacre on 4 June 1989 and now lives with a new name and identity in the West. The narrative of Looking for Courage became a fairytale about a woman who has lost her soul. She decides to follow her footsteps back in time to look for herself, and her journey takes her to mainland China, where she is reunited with her past.
DR BYEN ▪ metropolis 2015
The process Leading up to the performance, the artistic team had been through a two-year process involving several workshops and work-in-progress presentations, artist in residencies, artist talks and seminars in both China and Denmark to establish a genuine understanding of each other’s cultures and working methods, and to develop a common artistic language. Tietgen Dormitory and the surrounding area created the frame of this process. Ørestad is a so-called new city without an urban history, and the people living there are the first to define the social-cultural environment of the area. This historyless space became the thematic metaphor of the story in the performance.
Walking and Sensing The City
Tietgenkollegiet â–Ş metropolis 2015
Walking and Sensing The City
The performance With an in-ear radio transmitter, the audience was taken on a journey from the metro station by the DR Concert hall and guided by the locals towards the Tietgen Dormitory. Before the audience started their journey, students from the local gymnasium’s Chinese studies prepared them for their walk by introducing them to Chinese culture and language. The audience was also given a diary to write in on their way. During the first part of the walk, the audience had to pass several rituals and tests, while the architect of the Tietgen Dormitory told them about the difficult planning of the building. This transmission was mixed with diary quotes of the young Chai Ling and framed by live incidents of everyday life in the area. The audience was taken from this lively and authentic urban space into the dormitory via the underground car park. While they walked, the environment gradually changed and became more and more manipulated and surreal. It was as if the audience was walking between two parallel worlds; one created by the concrete architecture, and another created by a multimedia setting based on interpretations of reality. Suspended between these two worlds, the perception of the audience was challenged, and their experience became like a double exposure where reminiscences of the student riots in 1989 were mixing with the present student life at the dormitory.
Looking for Courage was a co-production between Sifenlv
New Media Studio (www.sifenlv.com) and OPEraNord (www. operanord.com).
Sifenlv New Media Studio in Beijing was founded in 2006 by media artist Feng Jiangzhou and LinZhang. The studio focuses on contemporary performing art works and fine art that involves new media and interactive technology. The studio has 15 artists consisting of graphic designers, sound and video artists, programmers and computer technicians with the latest concept of new media technologies and designs. OPEraNord was founded by the scenographer Louise Beck in 1995 with the ambition of creating a platform, where artists across borders and traditions could meet, challenge the conventions of theatre and develop new pieces of music drama. OPEraNord has organised a range of international symposiums, seminars and workshops, and many of these initiatives have led to long-term artistic collaborations and large scale site-specific productions. Beside the founders of these two organisations, the artistic team consisted of the Danish multimedia art duo Klejs&Rønsholdt, the writer Camilla Hübbe, the director Charlotte Munksø, the graphic designer Birk Marcus-Hansen and the performers Loré Lixenberg, Lucy Railton, Liu Zheng and Wu Tingcui.
COLLECTIVE STRINGS ▪ FREDERIKSBERG ▪ metropolis 2015
BODies IN THE CITY
n the City
A dialectical biography tape numen / for use Visual Artist Collective, Wien
Numen/For Use took over the large colonnade in Nikolaj Kunsthal with their tape installation. For five days, they stretched thick layers of transparent tape to organically form a cocoon-like suspended structure from twelve points. Some 40 km of household tape was used in the construction and nothing else. Both spectacular and intimate, and also inviting one to sense the structure from the inside. The work challenges the notion of formal architecture by the lightweight installation hanging in this majestic building. The work of Numen is a unique cross over between organic
architecture, minimal art and user driven design and performance with strong intellectual and socio political roots from their specific point of departure. To illustrate this, the following are exerts of Ivana Jonke’s article A dialectal biography for the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space 2011 where Numen/For Use were awarded one of their 16 international design prizes.
The group was formed in the post Balkan war and post socialist Yugoslavian vacuum of Croatia in the late 90’s. Originally they took the name For Use, which was based on their strong belief in the starkly utilitarian and functionalistic core of product design. But they were also inspired by the intellectuals from the early 20th century, such as Russian constructivism, Bauhaus, as well as European abstract and concrete art and the “wild frontiere essentialism” of James Turrell, Mies Van der Rohe and Rothko. From 1999, and parallel to the already thriving For Use
NIKOLAJ KUNSTHAL â–ª metropolis 2015
BODies IN THE CITY
furniture design commissions in Italy, the collective started to engage with Zagreb underground club and art scene, staging and art-directing various public projects from exhibitions and trade-fair events to club nights and parties. The entire fellowship continues to operate as a tightly knit community of mutually corrective enthusiasts, who share both work space and living space while disclosing the manner, lifestyle and fanaticism of a guerrilla brigade. In 1999, they chose the name Numen - a word derived from the Kantian Theory of Knowledge, signifying a thing viewed as a purely transcendental object. Kant posits that objects must exist as the unfathomable, presumed «things-in-themselves» (noumena), separate and independent of the senses, before they can be manifested as appearances (phenomena), which constitute experience.
The point the group tried to advance was less about projecting something new into reality, but rather about revealing latent, pre-existing qualities in matter. Such approach cannot be written off as an elitist, transcendental undertaking, since it nurses, in its idealist folds, a fundamental obligation to redeem the world in which it acts, thus becoming ultimately concrete. Reinvented as Numen/For Use, the group demonstrated their dual, bifurcated identity; the double-barreled name suitably reflecting the inner dialectics, which was to become the paradigm and the driving force of their future work and method. Since the post-modern streak, dominating global visual culture of the time left them largely unimpressed, or as Sven Jonke once summarised it: “There were no ideas around us. Just styling”. It was necessary to find other means of expression. For Numen, the sober and honest cult of functionalist minimalism reigned paramount with all attempts at inconsistent artism or impromptu solutions shunned and cut at the root. The accepted methodology favoured a clear line of causality,
devoid of arbitrariness, uncertainty or chance. At this point the group sees in design process less an art or a technique and more a surgery upon phenomenal reality that must be performed with strict determination and a carefully sharpened scalpel. Tasks are never approached lightly but with exploratory rigour, cerebral control and grit, occasionally teetering on the verge of pedantry. Parallel, everyday objects made by carpenters and metal workers, but also various accidental and anonymous pieces, are marveled at and studied in pursuit of coherent methods and the lost wisdom of techné. According to early Numen postulates, design was primarily an affair of disciplined research and controlled ordering of phenomenological matter, which, by virtue of being purged of unnecessary metaphor and analogy, and through the act of revealing of its intrinsic, immanent logic, produces objects that contain a reflection of the ideal. This process is by nature reductive, hygienic and essentialist and prone to resolve itself in strong singular gestures, which demand unspoiled attention and rule out superficial reading. Thus acquired condensed form usually resides on simple geometricism, underpinned by extended conceptual substructure or theoretical matrix, all of which serve to amplify its apparent content. The resulting design is consistently minimalist to the level of being absent yet attaining total and disarming presence precisely through this reduction. Another underlying, if speculative, aspect of Numen’s austere and introspective approach was the will-to-enlighten, to uplift the masses from their eclectic stupor, to propel collective progress by re-setting design standards in the barely solidified social conditions of the turn of the century. When asked directly, Numen generally denies political positioning even in the broadest sense, yet any form of radicalism or ideological stance envisaging the re-design of the “world to come”, is, in the final instance, bound to have political connotations. It has indeed become a sort of cultural
BODies IN THE CITY
cliché to try to read into a design based on the principles of rationalization and functionality a strategy and weapon of socio-political reform. Yet in the case of Numen, a certain educative and revelatory attempt is clearly felt. This phase sees Numen trying to break from the militancy of the former period and actualising this crucial schism through their involvement with the theatre. The fundamental shift is felt on all levels of production, be it stage design, industrial design or just general Weltanschauung. The manifesto radicalism of the previous phase dissolved into more liberating, relaxed and self-assured pluralism. Work in the theatre thus served as a catalyst for a transcendence, for the coming of age, the growing up of the collective, now again consisting solely of three core members Jonke, Katzler and Radeljkovic, with active bases in Zagreb and Vienna. It seems as if the engagement with the theatre and the conceptual switch it brought about was a logical trajectory in the biography of a group whose earliest activities were already displaying an affinity towards scenographic experiments with manipulating space and objects, materialised foremost through their Gesamtkunstwerk approach to staging public events. The inability to exert absolutist control over the total outcome, which accompanies work in theatrical production, the practical necessity of cooperation, imperfection and tolerance, as well as the transitory and fleeting nature of the eventual result, all served to soften the edges of the conceptual grid and open the group’s ranks to the motley influx of extrinsic influence, dirt, hybridisation and chaos. With the controlling grip of puerile dogmatism finally loosened, the field of experimentation now lay ready for perusal by what was already a mature and consolidated discourse. The new methodology placed more emphasis on the process than on the result, focusing on experiment rather
than revelation, allowing bastardisations and overlapping of fields of activity, creating context where a chair can become a leitmotif for stage design, where objects expand into architecture, and scenography turns into an installation. This disciplinary intermeshing, this interstitial space that opened between design, scenography, architecture and art became a great new playground for testing out singular methods on the expanding substratum of different media. When discussing their methodology in hindsight, Numen likes to point out the persistency of the inner dialectics entrenched at the root of their production, which manifests itself through a constant concurrence of the impulse towards order and the compulsion to transgress and give themselves over to chaos. This internal tension is perhaps characteristic for the field of design or the applied arts, yet in the case of Numen/For Use it embodies the crucial creative dynamics within the group - the very poles of which are reflected in their hyphenated name and geographical split. An uneasy yet productive oscillation between the notions of art and function, poiesis and techné, matter and ideal, reduction and excess, design and theatre, is resolved through a process akin to Hegelian sublation, where both aspects of a dialectical exchange are subsequently overcome and preserved. In this story of unflinching advancement and constant dynamic movement towards unity, difference is turned into contradiction, contradiction into reconciliation and a biography into dialectical biography. Being involved with neither just technical production nor with creation in the romantic sense, being by definition dialectical, Numen’s work attempts at reconciling thought with matter and zeitgeist, at bringing forth and materialising the undisclosed potential of the moment. For Numen there are no unbeatable rules or ossified principles in either life or design, but a continuous research that is in itself developmental and generative, reflecting in its unfolding spiral the ultimate constancy of flux.
Collective Strings Karoline H. Larsen Visual Artist, Copenhagen
Visual artist Karoline H. Larsen eradicates the distinction between art and game, and between spectator and artist. She transforms and stages urban space together with the visitors and reinstates the opportunity for playfulness and creativity in the city. Karoline has developed her particular forma of soft and performative architecture over a decade, working in very different situations and with various materials. She designs creative and collaborative processes.
Collective Strings transformed a majestic, formal, empty square over a period of 17 days with 300 kilometres of rope and string in all colours and with participation of more than 7,000 local people in unstructured, playful construction. From a distance, the structure was a colourful installation, but you could also pull the strings, make new connections and transform the work. You could even climb into the installation and let yourself envelop by the kaleidoscopic jungle of strings.
The artist guided, commented, taught and occasionally edited. Social and behavioural patterns were determining the visual and structural patterns of this co-creation, making the public space a place where negotiating and accommodating difference is a natural and necessary fact.
FREDERIKSBERG â–Ş metropolis 2015
BODies IN THE CITY
Site-Specific Game Design as a Public Service Christiane Hütter - Sebastian Quack Artist/Game Collective Invisible Playground, Berlin
During Metropolis 2013, Invisible Playground spent three weeks in Copenhagen, developing a set of site-specific games. From a temporary Field Office in the meatpacking district, the group explored the space between art and urbanism through the lens of play. In the following text, IP members Christiane Hütter and Sebastian Quack imagine a near future where the infrastructure for community-based design of site-specific games has been integrated into the standard system of public social services that Danish municipalities provide to their citizens.
background, and why do you want to work with us? CANDIDATE: Well, I have been working in the games industry. Big productions. But in the end, there are just small decisions that you can make. And only small parts of the world that you get to see. Basicly your computer. But hey, the game can be played everywhere. On every computer in the world. (FO manager has a look at his watch) CANDIDATE (getting nervous): Ok, to shorten this... I LOVE that your games are a temporary thing in the city. Just in and with reality. To have a look at what is happening around you. To see, hear, feel it! To make small games, not one that takes months and years to grow. That you work with real people in the street and ask them about their fears and fantasies. I do not know any real people in my life. RULE EXPERT: You don’t have real people in your life? CANDIDATE: No. Just my mother. But she doesn’t really count, I guess.
Summer 2020. A former storefront retail space in Odense. The glass door opens and the CANDIDATE enters the Field Office.
FO MANAGER: I see. But, may I ask you what your qualifications are?
FO MANAGER: Welcome.
Candidate: I bought some new shoes. Here, have a look.
CANDIDATE: Thanks for having me here.
FO manager and rule expert have a look at the shoes.
FO MANAGER: I am the FO manager. This is one of our special rule experts, and we are glad you applied. As you know, Odense has been a flagship Field Office for site- specific game design and playful place-making already for 3 years! RULE EXPERT: Thank god that time is linear. Mostly.
RULE EXPERT: Hm, those are really good shoes. Brand new.
FO MANAGER: Apropos: Let’s get started. What is your
CANDIDATE: I like walking. Each day I stay outside a bit longer. I read about your method of random walking. Mapping the space. I am a good walker. Except now, the new shoes hurt, to be honest. But I will get used to them, as well as I will get used to talking to people. I can LEARN to be a good interviewer, can’t I?
BODies IN THE CITY
showed up? BREAK, at bit uncomfortable CANDIDATE: And I know about systems and structures. I can make games. RULE EXPERT: Rules? In the city? Aren’t there enough rules? (I am testing you. Just in case you didn’t notice.) CANDIDATE: There are PLENTY of rules. Most of them are invisible. Many of them are interpersonal traps. Games in the city can make them obvious. Making rules visible and cities hackable is POLITICAL! FO manager and rule expert exchange a knowing glance. FO MANAGER: But you know that we do NOT make flash mobs. We don’t make interventions, and NO demonstrations. CANDIDATE: Sure. This is not what I want. RULE EXPERT: Ok. Next question. What DO you want? What are your perspectives of a career? CANDIDATE: Hm. I don’t know. I like working together. RULE EXPERT: Sounds good and we... FO MANAGER: We have no hierarchies. RULE EXPERT: Just rules. DO NOT INTERRUPT EACH OTHER. RRRRIINNNG
MAYOR: (mumblemumble) FO MANAGER: I understand. Don’t worry, that is perfectly normal. People need time to understand the system. Our first playtest was a disaster, too. MAYOR: (mumblemumble) FO MANAGER: That sounds interesting. And have you tried using the statue as a target? There’s a game that is really popular here using statues - wait, I’ll send you the link. (whooosh) And you could ask the statue cleaners to become co-designers - or even hire them as non-player-characters to give the experience some personality and a rough edge. MAYOR: (mumblemumblemumble) FO MANAGER: Ok, talk soon, bye! sorry about the interruption. The city of Svendborg is setting up their first Field Office. The mayor calls me every day for advice. RULE EXPERT: Ok, let’s get back to our interview. What do you know about the famous Copenhagen Field Office? CANDIDATE: Hm… I looked it up online. Something with a bridge. RULE EXPERT: Yes, go on, please CANDIDATE: I think it was in 2013 or 2014 - one of the games involved a bridge leading over the train tracks and into a shopping center.
- the FO manager’s communicator activates itself
MAYOR: (mumble mumble)
FO manager (waves his hand again, a hologram of a bridge appears, slowly rotating, with many people walking briskly on one side, mostly in one direction, then a bike lane and cars): Do you mean this? Can you tell us the name of the game and how it worked?
FO MANAGER: Wait, slow down please. So only 2 people
CANDIDATE (stressed): Oh man, it had this very long name.
FO MANAGER: Excuse me, the mayor of Svendborg is calling. Hello Louise, nice to see you.
Walking over the bridge while thinking about what to... RULE EXPERT: Walking over a bridge trying to formulate one clear thought. One of the major early games about mobility, focus and flow. Very relevant to your lifestyle. CANDIDATE (confused): Really?? FO manager wiggles his foot - the hologram zooms in, showing a single player and the testimonial starts playing) TESTIMONIAL: It was a game for two teams. In my team I played a mind that was constantly distracted from different impulses. To follow blondes, for example. I wanted to reach the other end of the bridge, but every time I met an impulse, I had to turn. Impulses were played by other players who wanted to help or distract us. It was fun. In the end we made it and screamed the sentence: Our one clear thought.
FO MANAGER: Tell me, what impulses are important here in Odense? CANDIDATE: You really ask difficult questions. Maybe to not offend anyone? RULE EXPERT: We need to wrap up. There is a meeting with CITIZEN X. But it would be good if you stay and see what happens.
and putting the equipment in, together with CITIZEN X): Any suggestion for improvements? CITIZEN X: Maybe somehow use the security cameras in the mall. It would be fun to look over the shoulder of the operator and watch the players walking through the centre. FO MANAGER: Good idea! Are you already in touch with anyone? CITIZEN X: No, but I can ask my brother. He works at STARBUCKS there. Maybe he can help. FO MANAGER: Great, good luck and see you soon - Back to you. I think we’re done with our questions. Do you have any? CANDIDATE: Hm, yes. There are not so many cities left without Field Office. It has become a municipal institution like a police station or a library. In smaller towns it is moving like an icecream truck that appears regularly and brings joy. In the future the children will have memories about running after the truck, screaming “The Field Office Truck, the Field Office Truck!” What will be next? FO MANAGER: Yes, the comprehensive public Field Office system is one of the few things we can be truly proud of in these dark times in Denmark. But let’s look ahead. First Denmark, then the world. Our medium is reality, and reality is everywhere, my friend.
CITIZEN X enters, carrying a very big bag. CITIZEN X: Hi there. RULE EXPERT: Hey, how did the game go?
CANDIDATE: So you make games to make the world better? FO MANAGER: Who needs games that do not face reality? That does not mean that they are not fun to play.
CITIZEN X: Pretty good. (unpacking the bag and dumping all kinds of stuff on the table, goggles and shoes, chalk, some strange electronic devices). Getting through security at the mall while wearing the goggles was definitely a challenge (laughing).
FO MANAGER smiles and throws something on the floor. A giant cloud of neon- coloured fog fills the room. When the air has cleared, everybody is gone.
RULE EXPERT (opening drawers and cupboards on the walls
BODies IN THE CITY
drømmebyen i nordhavn collective project
land, former docks and on-going business activities. They used photography, maps, notations and drawings. The results were 70 models.
This project was developed together with By&Havn (CPH Port Development), the public-private development foundation, responsible for the planning and development of the city of Copenhagen. The concept was to involve children from one of the local schools adjacent to the largest development project in the city: The Northern Harbour, where the former industrial docklands are being transformed into a new part of the city with 40,000 residents moving in over the next 25 years.
The second phase was a week-long “camp” in the harbour, where facilities were set up to work on site. With a set of containers as workshop spaces and a covered large scale map of the Northern Harbour, the children worked on a number of chosen themes. One hundred and fifty 6 to 15 year olds filled the map with 50 large models, sculptures and installations. They used 1:25, 1:100 and 1:250 scales. The work included fantasy bridges, floating and underwater villages and structures, green rooftop gardens and woods, written and illustrated narratives along streets and creative spaces for children.
The project was structured in two phases: a mapping and visual presentation of the area and modelling on small scale, where trips into the area gave the children input to sense and understand the changing landscape, which is a mix of vacant
The variety of work was impressive, and the creative ideas and concepts behind much of the work underline the fact that children are not alone interested in their environment, they are also extremely sensitive to their relationship with places and are able to produce ideas, which could provide very alternative input to “real” design processes in city making.
NORDHAVN ▪ 2014
We invited visual artists, scenographers and architects from Billedskolen, Copenhagen Kids and COBE Architects to participate in the project and work with 150 children from Strandvejsskolen.
BODies IN THE CITY
THE PLAYGROUND ▪ Enghave Brygge ▪ metropolis 2015
Drengen der aldrig flytter hjemmefra Julian Toldam Juhlin Performance Artist, Frederiksberg
An extreme example of how digitalisation can make it possible to create parallel universes, and an investigation of the blurred boundaries between the private and secretive and the public. Julian Juhlin also tests the concept of durational performance, which overtakes his life and makes an intelligent comment on the reality-show phenomenon. The story is, however, completely authentic. In 2012, a boy moved into a strange room in Vesterbro. A green screengreen room designed to disappear. Ever since, the mother has been able to watch her son projected live onto the walls in the childâ€™s room. The doors into the childhood home were opened, and Metropolis audiences were invited inside for an audio-guided tour, telling the incredible story about a boy, a mother and a home. The boy is filmed round the clock as he lives in a videosurveyed room. For two years he has slept with the lights on so as not to render him invisible for the cameras. 24 hours a day the boy is projected live onto the walls in his bedroom in his motherâ€™s home. The boy who never moves away.
ARBEJD ARBEJD Seimi Nørregaard Performance Artist, Copenhagen
You walk into a small workroom – a sweatshop. You are sat down behind a sewing machine, surrounded by piles of fabric, and you are told to work. You work shifts, all while your co-worker breathes down your neck. The machine needs adjusting. Forms need filling in. You take turns sleeping. The production never stops. Seimi Nørregaard has created a performance installation about work. About working conditions, disgust and joy, and about the power work has over us.
Carlsberg ▪ METROPOLIS 2015
Et Dukkehjem Fix & Foxy and Teatergrad Theatre Company, Copenhagen
FIX & FOXY is alias for Tue Biering and Jeppe Kristensen and the large group of creative participants in their projects. They have made theatre, performance, social interactions, soaps and movies and genres are used as a great pool of ready-mades, often blurring purposely between both real / documentary and imagined situations, often constructing a theatrical reality in real life places. A Doll’s House is one of the world’s most performed plays.
Ibsen, the playwright, wanted the theatre to be just like real life. The actors should act like real people, and the stage should look like a real home. This is why “A Doll’s House” by Fox & Foxy is performed in a proper home with a quite ordinary couple playing themselves. Fix & Foxy are uninhibited when it comes to popular formats, blockbusters, soaps, old kitch, and they find their actors in the real world; third world workers, hookers, asylum seekers, teenagers, etc. The artists’ hallmark is their unconventional relationship with genres and actors, creating playful theatre, poetry and social commitment.
playground groupenfonction Dance Company, Tours
Groupenfonction is a group of multidisciplinary creators. Their work multiplies gestures and takes place on the borders of play in order to try to move closer to both art and life, to restore lifeblood, those of the epic and the show, those of the desire, the thought, to allow for glimpses of another possible world. Their work lives in the time and in the space of the performance, challenging the world to describe itself. Positioning the work between the real and the imagined, creating an opportunity to not only create situations, which are more real or extreme and thus challenging, but also creating opportunities to offer the audience a possibility to step into a real (constructed) world and take part, and even to take command of the performance.
Their work The Playground is an example of this. The place is an abandoned site at the edge of town, wedged between graffiti walls and building debris and with a stunning view across the harbour. Their staged dance floor is fenced in and illuminated – a playground for adults. In Copenhagen, they found an ideal spot with neighbours such as a temporary camper site, drifters working to reprocess old bricks from demolished buildings, illegal houseboats and the building site for riverside dwellings. It is the story of the group, the band, the chorus, that meets every evening at nightfall. In a place which could be a playground for the children or a less frequented place, where their desires can grow. They create a contagious dance, an irresistible beat, a game which re-enchants the city. Groupenfonction celebrates community life and asks, “can we create an
alternative right here and now?”
Enghave Brygge ▪ METROPOLIS 2015
An essentially activist dramaturgy – activist as in protest and activist as in self-controlling and participatory – which also sees these temporary gatherings as micro-topias, on the edge of normality. In order to create this situation, the site itself is naturally extremely important. The anarchic sense of possible freedom is the starting point. Here the term site refers both to the physical setting but also to the urban mythological, political and social narratives, which the site translates for us.
C.A.P.E. crew Media Artists, Brussels
The experimental company CREW aims to visualise how technology is changing us. The art form, which is used for this purpose and that quite simply engages the body of the spectator, is immersion. There are multiple ways of sharing immersive environments with the public, but the main criterion is for the art form to be live: theatre, installations and performances.
In C.a.p.e. Tohoku, the visitor wanders through the debris in tsunami ridden areas in Japan, only months after the disaster took place. Seconds later, in company of the Japanese inhabitants, he is confronting the raising waters. C.a.p.e. KIT is CREWâ€™s first creation for children. Nothing is
what it looks like anymore as soon as you put on the C.a.p.e. KIT video-glasses and computer-backpack. A little girl in red clothes takes you by the hand and then the strangest things happen. As an Alice in Wonderland, you start moving. Am I too big now or am I too small? Am I here or yonder? You keep on walking and can hardly follow your legs, eyes, ears... Luckily, getting lost is not an option. The little girl is never far away.
These real-time creations anchor the immersive experience in the here and now. The here and now is the sole contact point between humans and technology. In the here and now, CREW confronts a wide and international audience personally and bodily with that which surrounds us, our place in it and the way we perceive ourselves.
Interview with Judith Hofland
what is real and what is not real. In that way I can make people wonder or I can touch them, and when they are touched in reality, they reflect more on it than they would if they were in a theatre place.
Judith Hofland is based in Amsterdam. She develops projects in public space where technology and the audience play an essential role. For Metropolis Festival 2013, Judith presented the locative audio/media walk Like Me, where the audience is given an iPod, headphones and send into the city. The spectator is fed information about another spectator on a different route and vice versa, before they in the end meet and walk together. Like Me has been presented in among others Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Graz, Marseille and Košice and also created the starting point for an artist in residence in Port-au-Prince/Haiti.
As you say, your works often blur the lines between fiction and reality, and it seems that you have a deliberate intention to confuse the audience. Which methods do you implement to achieve this?
Judith, you are working with many different formats, technologies, ways of expression and spaces in your projects. How do you describe your artistic practice?
I call myself a visual interactive theatre maker. In every project my work is about the audience and how I can make them reflect on the way they look at things. I like to work with suspense. What’s real, what’s not real? How can the audience play a role, which role do they play, and how can we make it surprising and personal for them? You often work in and with public space. What does public space as setting add to the audience experience that you cannot achieve in more theatrical settings? I also work in theatres. My background is as a theatre designer, but I think it is a bit passive with people just sitting in their chairs watching a story. I like to work with the audience as characters or as part of the work, so that they get the feeling that it is about them. I work with them in their own environment, so that they can double the experience to their own lives. In that way they are confronted with their own feelings and behaviour. I want the audience to look differently at what they usually do or see. I want to change something in that. I really like to fool people. That is theatre for me. To work with
One of my first performances was in Terschelling in Oerol, where we asked the audience to help a little girl find her grandfather. The audience has to walk around in this little village, where they think that everything is arranged. That it is all theatre. So first you give them the feeling that they are safe, and then after a few minutes of walking, they see notes on the windows of the houses saying “this is not theatre, we are living here”. There I’m trying to confuse the audience. What’s real? Do I act myself? What is arranged and what is not arranged for this performance? They have to look in the houses, through the windows, and I ask, or this little girl asks them to open the door. They go into the garden, also locked behind a little door. They do all of this because they think it is theatre, but in real life they are breaking in. They do it because we tell them to do it, so who is responsible? Is it you who are doing it, or is it me, the theatre maker? At the end you walk to this little house, the workshop of the grandfather. You see a lot of screens, and you see yourself doing all of those things on surveillance cameras. In that way your actions become real. Besides from working in public space and intervening in private space with sometimes personal questions for the audience, you use cyberspace as a third and important space. What is cyberspace to you? My work is in-between reality and fiction. In the walks you have to act yourself. That’s real. And you can make your own choices. That’s real. But some of the people you meet, like the narrator Sascha in Like Me, is she real or is she in cyberspace? She is with you for the whole tour through your headphones, for longer time than the real person next to you, she feels
familiar. So who do you choose to become friends with in the end? Your choice has consequences, because in the end you cannot escape reality.
technology and in public space, which even increases the possibility of the unforeseen. How do you incorporate this aspect of ‘chance’?
Escaping reality, is that something you see as a tendency in our society today? And how would you like your audience to reflect on it?
I know that people will do the best they can to make it work, since they are scared to do it wrong. I am trying to make the rules of the game as clear and as easy as possible, so that they can feel free. And then I hope that they are curious enough to go explore more than I ask them to.
I think we are hiding a lot. Me too. That is why I make this kind of work. I am inspired by the real world, by people walking in the street and how they act there. You see a lot of people watching their phones, and you see that they are not in the moment. They don’t see me, because their head is somewhere else in cyberspace. In Like Me I keep the audience busy with an iPod. In this way they also become a picture of someone in the street. I like to work with this double picture. So you are in something, but you are also a picture for someone who is not in it and doesn’t know what you are doing. In Like Me, I was searching for what I want to say about social media. You can hide behind a computer, but I think life is about taking the step. Go into real life, don’t stay behind a computer all day. It is more exciting to meet people in real reality. What are we missing out on by hiding in digital, virtual reality? We are missing life and the feeling of reality. In our Western culture we want to control everything, so nothing is a risk. Everything is planned. The feeling I got in Haiti, when I was there for a residency for the network In Situ, was that people are really there. They don’t hide. They are in the streets meeting each other. When I want to meet someone, I have to call in advance. We don’t meet in the streets or get new experiences there. We are so controlled and organised and forget to let things happen and let life be. When you get new experiences, you feel something new, you are touched. It’s scary, but that’s life. Since the audience plays such an essential part in your walks, there is always the risk, or possibility, that they will act and react differently from what you intended and thus change the performance experience. Also you are working with
I really like when people are a bit rebellious. When they search for the borders of the game. This is a matter of controlling and letting go. Things are happening that you didn’t expect. And everybody has his own experience. I really like that. It is about giving space for the moment. In Europe it is easy to control the audience, because I know how people will behave, but in Haiti they confronted me. The performance was very timebased, so the audience had to be precise. It was hard to get what I wanted, because I could control them less. They are not used to seeing art, and they have a different understanding of time. They don’t know the conditions of watching a play. They walk through the projections, and they don’t even realise that they are becoming part of it. That is what I really liked in Haiti. In Europe you don’t see that. Here people know that it is art and that you are not supposed to be in the spotlight. You just watch what is happening. What has this experience in Haiti given you in terms of awareness and inspiration that you can use in your future work? The Haitians confronted me about my wish to have too much control over my work or over the audience. If you want to do something with a community in non-Western countries, probably it is better to do something where people can just join in. When I go back to do something there, I really want to do it less time-based. Less control and fewer borders. To work more in and with the moment, with the people there so that they can intervene more. I would like to work more like that. To give more control to the audience.
SHAPE YOUR HOOD ▪ PORT-AU-PRINCE ▪ 2015
metropolis l 250
ØRESTAD, copenhagen ▪ metropolis LABORATORY 2014
metropolis LABORATORY 2012
IN SEARCH FOR WHAT COULD BE Metropolis Laboratory Copenhagen, June 4-12 2012 Cecilie Sachs Olsen PhD Researcher, Queen Mary University of London
“If cities can be imagined and made, they can also be reimagined and re-made.”
The re-imagining of the city can be seen as the very essence of the fourth Metropolis Laboratory, which took place in Copenhagen 7-9 June 2012. Metropolis Laboratory is part of Metropolis Biennale, organised by Copenhagen International Theatre (KIT). The biennale consists of a festival for art in public space and a laboratory for testing, presenting and discussing potential artists, topics and approaches that may feature at the up-coming festival. Authenticity and change According to David Harvey, the freedom to make and remake our cities is one of the most precious yet one of the most neglected of our human rights. Metropolis Laboratory can
be seen as a direct response to this, as it opens up for a changing of Metropolis by facilitating discussions and experiments on the possibilities and limitations in the public domain. “We want to comment on the city as a phenomenon”, the artistic director Trevor Davies stated while introducing the wide range of themes that KIT found particularly relevant for this edition of the laboratory: instant architecture, festivals as tools for changing the perception of public spaces, walking in the city, augmented reality and urban gaming. The recurring questions being: Who has the right to negotiate with the city? How to bring quality to urban space? How can the arts provide alternatives and new approaches to the way we organise and live in our cities? And finally, the essential question that, in a spirit of optimism, not focuses on what we can loose but rather asks: What can be done? Now, an obvious counter question would be: What can be done about what? Why is it so important that we provide alternatives to the way our cities are currently developing? According to the award-winning urban sociologist, Sharon Zukin, setting the scene for the further discussions at Metropolis Laboratory, our cities are subject to a series of profound ongoing changes that are leading to a loss of the authentic city. Zukin uses the term authenticity to depict a change, which - in its essence - is self-destructive: urban planners and policy makers focus on the construction of images of authentic neighbourhoods as these are often entitled a certain vibe and originality. However, the construction of this
metropolis LABORATORY 2012
so-called authenticity may eventually lead to an upscaling of a neighbourhood, rise in local real-estate prices, eviction of former inhabitants and ultimately to a radical transformation of the neighbourhood itself in terms of a destruction of its original soul. But is all change really that bad? And what does the term authenticity imply? Isn’t it just a buzzword? Or an outdated phenomenon? Or is it just another way of talking about taste? It became clear that using a cultural latent word such as authenticity when talking about contemporary cities provoked several reactions from the audience at the laboratory. While Zukin encouraged the audience to fight for the good authenticity, it soon became clear that authenticity for many in the audience had quite negative connotations. “Not all places want to be authentic, conformity is a danger!”
the Romanian in the audience proclaimed. “It is dangerous to speak of authenticity besides diversity,” the South-African delegate stated. What all the comments and reactions made clear is that authenticity is a socially produced word, which is a living concept that constantly needs to be re-defined. Public space and public art The discussion around authenticity provided an important framework for the laboratory as it is closely linked to the discussions about public space. According to Zukin, authenticity cannot be attribute of a physical place alone, but is necessarily tied to the interaction of social groups that inhabit an urban locale. The same can be said for public space. As Davies pointed out in one of the discussions, public means common, it means being part of a community. Public space is you and I, as Imanuel Schipper, one of the lecturers stated. Going into public space, then, is an act of power and/or a political act as it directly relates to you and me, our daily lives and the reality we live in. If we take this discussion further and have a look upon the role and function of art in public space, which is one of the main aspects of the Metropolis Biennale and Laboratory, public art is not simply art put in public space, but it should create possibilities to interact. Public art is art that has as its goal and desire to engage with its audiences. It should produce meaning for territorial areas and make
spaces - whether material, virtual or imagined - within which people can identify themselves. Public art should create a renewed reflection on society, of the use of public spaces or on our behaviour within them. It should create a situation in which alternatives are made possible. It should not reproduce common sense, but try to undermine it. In other words, public art has the responsibility to challenge the existing hegemony and try to disarticulate it. The projects and talks presented at the Metropolis Laboratory were all examples of such an approach to public art. The creation of a democratic space One example of an approach to public art that wanted to challenge the existing hegemony was exemplified by the performance Invisible Walls. The performance aimed at changing the notion of public space in Kosovo. Here the ruling elites would normally use public space for political projects. Thus, the art put in public space was part of a monumentalism that, as Lefebvre warned, “masks the will to power and the arbitrariness to power beneath signs and surfaces that claim to express collective will and collective thought”. Invisible Walls,
on the other hand, wanted to create a context in which to work with critical art in public space. By staging street theatre performances that broke with the social and political barriers that stop movement and communication in public space, they introduced a public art that wanted to debate rather than decorate and by this wanted to create a social and democratic space. The creation of a social space was also the aim of Jorge Lobos and his project Architecture and Human Rights. Inspired by the possibilities of the arts to open up for alternatives and experiments, Lobos uses architectural strategies to facilitate a social space and enhance the quality of life in cities. Lobos advocated a utopian and political architecture that is based on the recovering of local meanings and identities. The term utopia in this context does not refer to utopian representations that remain within dominant values and ideologies, such as for example the (mis)use of authenticity dominant in the processes of disneyfication. Zukin, among others, criticises this use of utopia for projecting a muzzy,
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spurious and dead past with putative links to local tradition. Instead of this utopia, which focuses on a spatialised and dead urban form, Lobos refers to a living utopia of processes that offers a mode of critique and that desires a better way of being and living. Lobos’ utopian architecture thus becomes a social project. One example of this is an action undertaken by Lobos during demonstrations taking place in Santiago. The government downplayed the number of people protesting in the media, and Lobos designed balloons showing the real number of demonstrators for the media to see. Another example is the refugee camps in Sri Lanka, which Lobos has particularly designed in order to provide housing structures that enhance the safety of its citizens. In the presentation of his work, Lobos particularly focused on architecture as cultural processes and the importance of the life between the buildings. This focus was also reflected in the work of the city architect of Copenhagen, Tina Saaby. In the spirit of the famous Danish architect, Jan Gehl, Saaby advocated that one should consider urban life before urban space, and urban space before urban buildings. In this regard, Saaby praised artistic and temporary approaches to working with the city and create vibrant urban spaces. She pointed out that it is easier to experiment and get permissions to do things in public space when you are doing an art project. As Davies summarised it: “By labeling something as art you create
a different moral code where the city is not merely a service function but a democratic place”.
But what is actually a democratic place? In her presentation, Saaby emphasised the level of satisfaction amongst the citizens of Copenhagen as a key factor for a democratic place. According to her, 80% of the citizens of Copenhagen are satisfied with their city. “Next year”, Saaby proclaimed, “the aim will be 90% satisfaction”. The audience questioned Saaby’s emphasis on satisfaction: Do we really want a city where 90% are satisfied? What about the diversity that Saaby herself advocated? Doesn’t it risk being lost in this overall model of elite consensus and agreement? “In your presentation, I am confronted with a vision of the city based on white children families. I am black and single, where do I fit into this picture of Copenhagen?”, one of the women in the audience asked. “I do not want to live in a city where everyone
is satisfied”, another exclaimed. “I want an exciting city, where differences and contestations are made explicit.”
It became clear after Saaby’s presentation that a democratic place, in the minds of the audience of Metropolis Laboratory, was defined more as a place for encounters between heterogeneous groups and individuals than for a homogeneous group of like-minded people. Furthermore, it was defined more as a place for enunciating difference and disagreements than for submitting to an overall consensus. Temporary and instant approaches The use of temporary approaches as a driver for urban development was one of the heart causes of Saaby. According to her, temporary approaches make it possible to create commitment, involvement, empowerment, dialogue and to create experiments that you can learn from. These points were also exemplified by the project 72 Hours Urban Action from Tel-Aviv. The project is the world’s first realtime architecture competition, where 10 international teams have 3 days and 3 nights to design and build projects in public space. The competition aims to challenge the way we think about space by showing an approach to architecture that is dynamic, flexible, experimental and in direct response to local needs. According to the initiators of the project, architecture as such is too static, and they wanted to show that a city and a place could - with a good portion of engagement and creativity - undertake a radical change in only 72 hours. The question of time is an important one in the context of urban development. As Davies pointed out, many regeneration projects may last up to 15 years. Within this long time frame, it is hard to make citizens participate in the process. In 72 hours, however, it is more accessible to participate in leaving your mark on the city. The question is what happens after the 72 hours? How can these temporary actions and measures be transformed into permanent planning? Is this initiative really creating leverage, which is rooted in local needs? Or is it “nothing but a travelling circus”, as one person in the audience termed it?
metropolis LABORATORY 2012
72 Hours Urban Action may be seen as an example of the socalled “rise of instant activism in architecture” (Robles-Dúran). Instant activism is here alluding to an instrumentalisation of activism for making a redevelopment process look justified and bottom-up in order to avoid a civic opposition to an urban project. Furthermore, instant activism in architecture implies an aggrandisement and self-aggrandisement of the architect and an expanded confidence in his or her socially transformative powers. However, design knowledge and tools become futile when confronted with the conflictive urban realities that construct our cities, and quite useless in the search of a more profound and dynamic understanding of the social relations that surround the production of urban space. The organisers of 72 Hours Urban Action admitted that they had experienced local stories getting lost when the participating architects were too fixed on their own design idea. These projects often did not last, but got torn down by the locals shortly after the competition ended. This experience reminds us that activism cannot be instant; it is formed by a long and constant struggle to stand in critical opposition to the injustices of present development. Despite of these criticisms, 72 Hours Urban Action may provide an important learning process for the participating architects. The project opens up for a rethinking of the systems and institutions of urban development and the construction of an architectural practice that constantly seeks the capacity to engage in the urban debate and have a socio-political leverage in the shaping of its territory. Thus an important leverage of 72 Hours Urban Action is not necessarily the physical impact on the environment, but rather on the mindset of architects and urban planners. City - writing and walking While 72 Hours Urban Action wanted to leave a mark on the city through a somewhat commercialised version of activism, the project City of letters focused on leaving a mark on the city by a form of activism, which is part of a constant struggle to be in opposition to the establishment and the injustices of present development, namely graffiti or - as the insiders would call it - city writing.
City of letters invited the so-called city-writers to build a city out of their tags (the graffiti label of their names) as a way to re-claim and create a sense of ownership over public space in the suburbs of Stockholm. The project questioned the function of street-art in the city. It pointed to how street-art can contest the principal of signification which is embedded in the codes of the city, i.e. in form of the commercials and visual signs telling us where to look, to stand, to go as well as what to do. By interrupting these codes of signification by what seems to be a visual sign with no particular meaning, except from the visible mark and trace of a city-writer, graffiti may represent a subversity that disrupts the taken for granted order. City-writing is a reclaiming of space in the most literary use of the word as local citizens are signing and putting their names on the urban surface through a highly personal approach that opens up a space for alterity, transgression and breaking of the norms. Another personal approach to the city is found in the act of walking. In the spirit of the French scholar Michel de Certau and his statement that what constitutes the city is movement through the city, the act of walking was dealt with on the second day of the Metropolis Laboratory. Associate Professor and Professor in Performance Studies, Nicolas Whybrow and Roberta Mock, opened the day with presentations on walking as creative practices in urban space and the relationship between walking, performance and autobiography. The topic of walking in the city is well rehearsed in literature, ranging from the drifting figure of Baudelaire and Benjamin’s flâneur to the more politicised and productive drift of the Situationists and finally to the current hype around the free running provided by parcour. Why is the act of walking in the city so important? Whybrow and Mock emphasised the revelatory potential of walking. Walking can be seen as a practice that offers a particular sensibility to the detail of quotidian urban activity. The link to the notion of authenticity, as introduced in the beginning of Metropolis Laboratory, becomes evident:
metropolis LABORATORY 2012
The act of walking promises authenticity in the form of a corporeal brushing with the real and immediate aspects of the city. This form of authenticity cannot be constructed because it is transient and ever shifting, it produces conditions in which unexpected perspectives present themselves. Whybrow exemplified how the foot can be seen as a creative instrument that transforms the feet into eyes and receptors. Mock pointed to walking as an approach to evoke collective memory as it makes it possible to re-discover the unofficial and hidden stories of our cities and create a sense of ownership. It is perhaps no big wonder why artists increasingly base their urban performances and interventions on a walking audience. In line with what should be the goal of public art, walking produces meaning for territorial areas and makes spaces. Play the city The transformative potential of tactical movement in urban space was also emphasised in the concept of urban gaming, which was discussed on the third and last day of Metropolis Laboratory. The Berlin-based game-collective Invisible Playground sat the scene by introducing their work with making site-specific games in urban contexts. Central to the work of Invisible Playground is the notion of play and its ability to open up for new perspectives and (re)-imaginations of the city. In many ways the work of Invisible Playground carries out Hénri Lefebvre’s vision of the collective game as a claim to participatory citizenship. However, while Lefebvre regarded play as the ultimate expression of a social revolution that should change our daily lives, Invisible Playground emphasises the function of play as an ephemeral art form. “It is important that play goes away again”, the collective proclaimed. “We do not want to end up living in a game”. Hence, while Lefebvre focused on the unstructured and unofficial aspects of play, Invisible Playground emphasises the formal structure of the game. The games made by Invisible Playground provide structures and a “safety-net” of rules and social contracts that enable people to play in the city. These are not games that you escape to, but rather games that provide a view on the outside world. By breaking with the here and now, these games can create a space for challenging what is, for disrupting dominant assumptions about social and spatial
organisation, and for imagining other possibilities and desires. Conclusion After three days of discussions, talks and workshops, what can we conclude? Or rather, alluding to the more active phrasing of the opening question: What can be done? How can we become better at experimenting together and in the process navigate towards new, inspiring and possible futures of our cities? Just as there is not any singular definition of authenticity or public space, there is not any singular answer to this question. However, Metropolis Laboratory 2012 shows us that there are alternatives at work, alternatives that provide spaces for negation, experimentation and new openings. Whether it is Invisible Walls or architecture and human rights aiming to create a social and democratic space, Tina Saaby’s temporary approaches opening up for experimenting with Copenhagen, the instant activism of 72 Hours Urban Action rethinking the construction of architectural practice, the reclaiming of public space through graffiti tags, the focus on walking as a way to produce meaning for territorial areas or Invisible Playground’s games opening up for new perspectives and (re)-imaginations of the city. These projects are just a selection of all the inspiring, disruptive and future-thinking projects and talks that were presented at Metropolis Laboratory. I could go on discussing the rest of the projects, such as Sarah Gebran’s Vertical Gardening project in a Palestinian refugee camp, the Global Stories of Ditte Maria Bjerg working with the stories of Moroccan women, the changing perceptions of Hackney in London provided by the audio app Hackney Hear, or the audio platform escoitar enhancing intangible cultural experience through acoustic memory. The common denominator of all these projects is the search for more imaginative ways of working with the city and using art to creatively produce the city in the interest of its citizens. By providing a platform for the different thinkers and practitioners involved in these projects and thoughts, Metropolis Laboratory enables and encourages us to reimagine and maybe even re-make our cities, not in regards to what already is, but in regards to what could be.
metropolis laboratory 2012
Metropolis Laboratory 2012 Keynote speakers Naked City: From Gritty to Glam in New York Sharon Zukin, Professor of Sociology, Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center, New York During the past few decades, New York City has shed the remains of its old manufacturing economy and coasted on a wave of global financial investment. The symbolic economy of art, finance, food, and fashion dominates the media. But has the city lost its soul to economic competition? Does the up scaling of old neighbourhoods deprive urban culture of its authentic roots in the juxtaposition of rich and poor? City life and temporary approaches - Copenhagen stories Tina Saaby, City Architect in Copenhagen With a 1000 new citizens every month and a focus on maintaining its position as one of the world’s best places to live and work in, Copenhagen is facing some major challenges in the future. One of the approaches is to consider urban life before urban space and to consider urban space before buildings and to
apply temporary approaches in order to create communities, by enhancing a dialogue between professional city planners, artists and citizens. What is the use of theatrical interventions in order to describe and discover the public? Imanuel Schipper, Dramaturge, theatre scientist, lecturer, Zürich The research project ‘Re/Occupation’ aimed to examine how performative techniques can be used for producing and designing public in urban space. Led by the main question, how artistic strategies could be used for scientific research or the humanities, the five disciplines, theatre studies, urbanism, sociology, scenography and philosophy, worked independently from each other using their own questions and methods. This led to completely new questions like: What can the arts do for the development of the urban society? Being on Foot: Creative strategies in (urban) space Nicolas Whybrow, Associate Professor in Theatre and Performance Studies, Warwick University The majority of this talk centred on aspects of Whybrow’s recent book ‘Art and the City’, which contains a chapter on creative walking practices in urban space but more generally attempts to engage with Lefebvre’s prediction that ‘The future of art is urban’. However, Whybrow also brought into play Performance Research journal’s
‘On Foot’ issue, which makes some proposals about the status of the foot as a creative instrument. Walking, Performance & Autobiography Roberta Mock, Professor of Performance Studies, Plymouth University This presentation drew upon the book ‘Walking, Writing and Performance: Autobiographical Texts’ by Deirdre Heddon, Carl Lavery and Phil Smith to discuss different strategies available to performance makers who are interested in creating autobiographical texts through the process of walking in the city. These strategies include walking through the spaces of childhood memories, creating a walk as a ritual of memorialisation, and making connections across time and space by attending to a closely delineated significant place. 72-Hour Urban Action Gilly Karjevsky, Cultural planner and co-director & Kerem Halbrecht, Founder and co-director, Tel Aviv 72 HUA is the world’s first real-time architecture competition, where 10 international teams have 3 days and 3 nights to design and build projects in public space in response to local needs. The teams design, build, sleep and party on site to generate interventions in public space within an extreme deadline, a tight budget and limited space. 72 HUA invites professionals and residents to become active agents of change, from the bottom-up, and
to leave a lasting impact on the urban landscape. Field Research Copenhagen Exploring the “places” Invisible Playground, Game designers, Berlin A presentation of the insights and impressions, materials, gamemechanics and fictions they have collected during the Metropolis field research. This collection was the seed for a bigger urban game project. Invisible Playground introduced the results of their scouting and exploring of the sites that make them play and that they will make playable.
Urban Play Bettina Lamm, Landscape architect and associate professor, University of Copenhagen Urban Play is an exhibition of temporary installations merged into the urban landscape of the industrial harbour of Køge, Denmark. International artists and architects have created works that respond to the architecture, materiality and narratives of the site and simultaneously invite people to engage. Urban Play is part of a long-term strategy for ongoing cultural interventions as a process for urban transformation and is curated by landscape architect Bettina Lamm and curator Charlotte Bagger Brandt from Råderum - Mobile Office for Contemporary Art. Building a place not a thing – a new body culture in urban
space? René Kural, Architect, Associate Professor, Director of Centre for Sports and Architecture, PhD, Copenhagen Why should activity-enhancing facilities in urban space be different than what they used to be? Are planners and architects discriminating women, young girls, seniors or immigrants? Is urban space masculine and the city itself feminine? In the pursuit to answer these questions, René Kural showed examples of his works at the Centre for Sports and Architecture (CIA). Platform for temporary architecture Marco Canevacci / Plastique Fantastique, Architect & director, Berlin Plastique Fantastique creates light and fluid pneumatic structures that can lay on the street, skirt a wall, infiltrate under a bridge, squeeze in a yard, float on a lake, invade an apartment and generate an ‘urban premiere’. Linz Super Branch Momoyo Kaijima / Atelier Bow-Wow, Architect & partner, Tokyo In 2009, the Japanese architecture studio Bow-Wow developed Linz’ rooftop landscape into an architectural configuration they called the ‘Linz Super Branch’. As a stairway to heaven, the construction linked several buildings together on the roof through steps and passageways. Several branches of the path appeared to be an overhang of the building. What started as a stairway
to heaven evolved like the roots of a tree proliferating horizontally across the roofs?
Metropolis Laboratory 2012 Breakout sessions GLOBAL ISSUES & INSTANT ARCHITECTURE
Vertical Gardening 2010 & Vertical Gardening/ The carpet 2011 Sara Gebran, Choreographer, performer, teacher, urban planner, Copenhagen Two artistic platforms developed in Jalazoun refugee camp and Dura Al Kara village in the West Bank/Palestine. The projects aimed for a dialogue with the citizens of these communities. With the strategy of gardening in vertical spaces - roof tops, walls and adjacent land - the project created an artistic meeting point to facilitate open public discussions, addressing issues relevant for the community such as: how to create a micro-economy for cheap food production, the collective use of public space for cultural events and recreational purpose, and the embellishment of the public space. Architecture and human rights Jorge Lobos, Architect, Copenhagen/Sardinia/Chiloe Island Architecture has concentrated its professional knowledge in certain parts of the world and in the society. This means that 2/3 of the world population has no relation to and knowledge about professional architecture. So how can architecture develop new strategies and practices that contain social and cultural awareness in order to break this unbalance and inequality? Morocco â€“ women in dialogue across the Mediterranean Ditte Maria Bjerg, Stage director and curator, Global Stories, Copenhagen In close collaboration with women of Moroccan heritage in Denmark, Global Stories engaged in January 2012 with a woman from Casablanca to write a blog one year after the
uprisings. The stories of this blog are now being shared and further developed in a touring tea saloon by a performer. Instant Urbanism Erik Juul, Architect, Copenhagen Two different projects dealing with the practice of instant architecture: HomeLessHome, a project that shows how to create architectural quality on a limited space and within a limited budget, and IU Carlsberg which is an example of an instant city at Carlsberg. Weak Architecture Tor Lindstrand, Architect and associate professor, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm Deliberate or not, an overarching project for many of the emerging architecture practices in the last ten years has been a discussion of who controls the utopian dimension of society and what role architects play. This presentation traced the ongoing battle between architecture as finished object versus architecture as unfolding situation.
FESTIVALS AS TOOLS FOR CHANGING THE PERCEPTION OF PUBLIC SPACES
Infecting the City Festival, Cape Town Jay Pather, Choreographer & curator Infecting the City epitomizes some of the challenges of modernity and the African city where the curation and creation of public art are of necessity drawn into the larger enterprise of social and existential enactments. The talk developed these ideas drawing from a selection of the 32 works performed at the festival in March 2012. Dream City Festival, Tunis Dhouha Bokri, Festival coordinator Dream City is a cross-disciplinary public art festival. The first edition of Dream City took place in 2007 in Tunis in a climate of control and oppression. The next edition was marked by the new context of freedom: each artist has a responsibility in carrying strong, free and emancipated messages. Home (Invisible Walls), Pristina Florent Mehmeti, ODA Teatri & Neil Butler, UZ Arts
Created by Teatri ODA, ‘Home’ combines installation performance and theatre. The audience is drawn to a beautiful installation representing Home. It isn’t quite what it appears a little difficult to enter even more so to leave.
INTRODUCTION TO THE EUROPEAN NETWORK IN-SITU AND NEW ARTISTIC CREATIONS
The award-winning Hackney Podcast has made a smartphone app called Hackney Hear. It scores your journey with stories, music and poetry – whilst eavesdropping on conversations from all walks of life. Triggering audio via GPS-location, Hackney Hear provides an innovative way to explore and rediscover London Fields through the stories of residents, local writers and musicians.
Walking as a performative act One of the clear approaches to the city as a performative stage is the current trend of structuring performances based on the acts of walking; individual walks, guided tours, explorative ventures with either written, audio or technology based tools; solitary or in a crowd, as urban explorers searching the terrain. The artists Virginie Thomas (Marseille), Judith Hofland (Amsterdam), Maria McCavana (Glasgow), Julia Laggner (Graz), Herczeg Tamás (Vasvár, HU) and Dragan Stojčevski (Prague) present their practice dealing with the act of walking in cities.
noTours Horacio González Diéguez, Artist, Santiago de Compostela noTours is an Escoitar.org’s project that makes it possible to walk through spaces experiencing an augmented acoustic reality. By superimposing new layers of sounds to a territory, noTours alters the perception of space, allowing to create parallel realities and to connect the real space with its past (the collective memory of its inhabitants). noTours transforms the walk into an unexpected and overwhelming immersive surround sound experience.
FLAT: a journey into the deepness of the surface Rodrigo Pardo, Theatre/dance/video director and performer, Brussels An apartment tilted 90 degrees attached to a building’s façade, and a person living there adapted in such a way that he doesn’t even notice the surrealistic situation he is part of. FLAT combines storytelling, video projections and aerial performance to construct an intimate aesthetic experience in contrast to the city in the background.
Orientation through names and naming Meira Ahmemulic, Artist and writer, Gothenburg Tags, the names that writers give themselves, are hybrids between images and words. Writers give years of their creativity, concentration, energy, themselves to a limited amount of letters, exhaust them until the only thing that matters is how they are written, not what they say. This requires conviction.
City portraits Anna de Manincor / ZimmerFrei, Artist and filmmaker, Bologna The documentaries mix site-specific research, oral narration and visionary imagery exploring the edge between public spaces and private territories. ZimmerFrei explores cities through short-term residencies turned into the set of an original form of documentary film.
The city that was glad to be chosen Thomas Wiczak, Artist and writer, Gothenburg In 2005, a small city in Germany was chosen for a corporate street-art-attack. A company who hired experts within the field of Urban Art for their practices and tactics initiated the event. The project was illegal, but the city did not take action against the company. The attack raises questions about authorization, advertising and branding of cities.
AUGMENTED REALITY IN YOUR POCKET
Hackney Hear Francesca Panetta, Multimedia special projects editor at the Guardian, London
IN THE URBAN TERRAIN
Metropolis Laboratory 2012 Workshops URBAN BODY: 4-day site-specific Theatre Switch Training ‘TST’ workshop with Stuart Lynch, Copenhagen Through the TST techniques of ‘Dance Architecture’, ‘Cognitive Shifting’ and ‘TST Triangulation’, the psychological and physical implications of an individual’s impact on and union with the urban environment will be explored. Hats, Camera, Action! 180 minute workshop by 72HUA International facilitated by Gilly Karjevsky and Kerem Halbrecht Microsites are small-scale disregarded locations that due to their lack of commercial viability are not appealing for private development, or that fall under the radar of authorities that worry themselves with bigger problems. However, for communities these are sore spots that require attention. 72 Hour Urban Action commission architects, artists and generally nice people to look at these pockets of neglect, and to offer quick but resonating solutions for them. The workshop looked at how 72 HUA identifies and reacts to these local microsites, and it scouted and analysed local needs to determine what type of missions are possible in Copenhagen.
Site visits Nordhavn: From industrial site to city district Nordhavn is Scandinavia’s largest metropolitan development project. The area is to be transformed from a dense industry and harbour area into an attractive urban city district in Copenhagen. This workshop was an introduction to the area and how to work with large vertical facades as an artistic stage.
KØGE ▪ metropolis LABORATORY 2014
From cultural planning to artistic interventions and public action Metropolis Laboratory Copenhagen, 21-23 May 2014 Kathrine Winkelhorn Assistant Professor, Malmö University
“Perhaps everything lies in knowing what words to speak, what actions to perform, and in what order and rhythm”. Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (1972)
Metropolis is a festival for art in public space and a laboratory for presenting and discussing a variety of approaches to urban development and community building. This fifth edition of Metropolis Laboratory was the largest Nordic gathering of engaged urbanists, artists, architects, city management teams, developers and academics who are involved in the relationship between the city and culture. Planning a city is re-imagining by which distinctive means a city can be transformed. This was the core issue at stake within the framework of Metropolis taking place in June 2014 in Copenhagen. During the last decades, artists, art institutions and local
citizens have been rediscovering the city from a range of perspectives. During the Metropolis 2014, a variety of projects and approaches linked to the issues of developing the public realm were debated. Here are some of the key questions and issues, which Trevor Davies mentioned in his introduction to the lab. “What role may art and artistic interventions play? Who has the right to negotiate with the city? What role do phenomena such as pop-up architecture, social sculpture, sitespecific performances, temporary urbanism, and community creativity play in transforming the cityscapes, and what can be done?”
Cultural Planning & Cultural Policy Some of the major trends we see in the cities are privatisations of public space as well as the corporatisation and standardisation of the public space as for instance 1) the gentrification of urban space, 2) the re−coding of inner cities as elite zones, 3) urban villages and sites of lifestyle consumption set the scene, 4) new public spaces are surrounded by bars and cafes and consequently citizens are considered solely as consumers. According to Franco Bianchini, planning is not a physical science but a human science and it’s about connecting folks, work and place. Paramount for the city is the importance of ‘civic renewal’. “Our European cities are stuck for solutions to their economic, environmental and social problems. The economic downturn brings about a crisis of legitimacy of governments - in particular the privatisation linked with the declining economic competitiveness of many European countries”. In this context
there is a crisis in urban cultural policy that has to do with 1) crisis in local funding, 2) problem of oversized buildings
KØGE ▪ metropolis LABORATORY 2014
and funding focused on consumption, 3) pockets of social exclusion. The natural question is what can be done about this? One perspective that Bianchini emphasises is to make surveys before planning to facilitate civic renewal. Dorte Skot-Hansen looked at the relationship between the planning of the performative city, cultural policy and cultural planning. She looks upon art and culture as resources for human development, not solely as strategic instruments for developing cities in a short-term competition. “Traditional cultural policies are about the development of artistic activities like theatre, dance, visual art, etc., but most likely we need to add the cultural planner as a new figure in policy making”.
Skot-Hansen discussed the notion of the Performative City, which is playful, dense, and brimming with potential. It is characterised by enchanted encounters, unexpected experiences, and spaces where “anything might and even should happen”. Planners and developers must consciously plan for cultural experiences not only to meet the high-brow elites, but to make room for the different subcultures and lifestyles, says Skot-Hansen. The city from a planners perspective Researcher Gro Sandkjær Hansen from Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research had a different perspective on cultural planning. She argues that the desire to preserve greenery and reduce the need for transport has led to an increased focus on densification. Urban planners must consider whether the city’s function should be to prepare for the “creative class” and competition for jobs with other cities or be open and inclusive for everyone. This development, she argues, has created a broad debate on how urban space should be designed and for whom? Her book, Kompakt Byutvikling, Muligheter og Utfordringer (2015) (The dense City Development, Possibilities and Challenges), is an attempt to provide an overview of the various topics relevant to this debate. Christer Larsson, director of City Planning Malmö, had a more pragmatic approach. Larsson argued that the most important issues for a city are transportation, social polarisation and climate changes in connection with a knowledge-based
economy as opposed to a more industry driven economy. One of his key questions was the need to develop tools to handle social sustainability and at the same time handling the need to create new jobs, compatible with the citizens. Cities need to collaborate to be able to meet these challenges. Nordic City Network is an association that collaborates “to set out minds and efforts to structure, shape, organise and govern our cities as knowledge cities.”
State of Cultural Planning in the North Lia Ghilardi dicusses the challenges of cultural planning and mapping. Cultural planners work like ethnographers and practice the art of deep hanging out. “We embed ourselves
in the place and identify distinctions in the local geography. After this first step we begin to design the participatory process. It’s actions based research.” As often mentioned during
the conference, cultural planning needs survey or simply research as both Lia Ghilardi and Bianchini argue. This kind of research tries to identify needs from citizens, politicians and developers to include a cultural and collaborative approach into the process of city making. How cultural planning is organised or carried out is very different in the Nordic countries. Some participants said that they experience some kind of reluctance to integrate a cultural planning perspective into public and private initiatives. This is mostly connected to lack of knowledge to carry out cultural planning. But not only that. It’s also lack of skills to conduct out the interdisciplinary tasks amongst planners, politicians and architects. And finally it seems that some politicians and developers are reluctant to spend resources on making survey and research. In Sweden, Public Art Agency has carried out a government assignment, “Collaboration on the Design of Public Spaces”. Henrik Orrje argues that public spaces are important for a long-term sustainable urban development for our cities. Welldesigned public spaces affect people’s security as well as a sense of both community and participation. The responsibility for this work is often unclear and divided. As Orrje sees it, there is a growing demand for professional managers who have the knowhow to carry out interdisciplinary work. What is needed is more education, where students learn to navigate between architects, artists, city-planners and engineers. Christina Hjorth has the same impression and has for these
ROSKILDE â–ª metropolis LABORATORY 2014
reasons written a handbook on cultural planning, At fånga platsens själ (To capture the soul of place), to disseminate the notion of cultural planning to smaller cities in Sweden. Kerstin Bergendal has an entirely different approach in her practice as a visual artist working on a utopian art project and concrete interventions in the urban planning process in the residential area Hallonbergen, with some 5,400 inhabitants of which 67% are immigrants, located a bit north of Stockholm. Bergendal is acting as a catalyst for new ways to think about the shaping of public environments and building processes. The goal is to incorporate the local perspective in the council’s plans and perhaps amend the densification proposal. PARK LEK is a collaboration between the Municipality of Sundbyberg and Marabouparken Lab, working through mapping, interviews and by building a 8m2 model of the plan in collaboration with 300 citizens to be presented to the City Council. The latter part of the project was an exhibition dealing with democracy that included 46 videos of 8 min. each. In Finland the situation is somewhat different. According to Anne Laitenen from Seppo Municipality (35km off Helsinki), cultural planning is not widely used in Finland. One of the reasons is that citizen involvement is already legally included in the processes of urban planning like in the UK. But Laitenen also mentions lack of education and knowledge as another main parameter. In Iceland the situation is even more different as stated by Ólöf Örvarsdóttir, Department of Environment and City Planning: “Reykjavik is like a teenager and does not know what
it wants when it grows up. No one walks or bikes in Reykjavik, and the infrastructure looks much more like Houston Texas than Scandinavia”. Interestingly enough, Icelandic does not have
a word for ‘urban’. There is still a mentality of ownership and individuality like more of a “wild west culture”. But the younger generation is more eager to engage in the city than to drive out into the country. Trevor Davies noted in the discussion that the Icelandics talk more about activities in Reykjavik than about the city itself.
Arna Mathiesen is working in Norway and Iceland and has coined the notion of Edge of Urbanism. Reykjavik is a young capital city with only some 150.000 citizens in a vast country surrounded by nature. In a workshop with researchers and practitioners in Reykjavik, she has been focusing on the forces that are shaping the urban environment before and after the financial meltdown. Her research question was to understand the relationship between scarcity and creativity in the context of the built environment through investigating conditions of scarcity. How does scarcity affect the creativity of the different actors involved in the production of architecture and urban design? And how does a design-led innovation process improve the built environment in the future? What happens if we accept scarcity as a given condition to work with rather than something to escape from, Mathiesen asks? This is presently a significant question. Not much indicates that the financial and economic decline is vanishing within the next decade or that more public money will be spent on the arts. Perhaps the notion of the the temporary city may work as a stepping stone for civic renewal and at the same time work as an entrance to a more vibrant public realm. The Temporary City The temporary city can be seen as one of a series of responses to the inherent ability of the property market to meet new needs. There are always latent demands from those who wish to establish projects without commercial returns such as community projects, sports, theatre, rehearsing rooms, etc. With reference to Phil Wood, Bianchini argues that artistic interventions can change the meanings and functions of space and thus reveal and take over, like for instance in Anne Beate Hovind’s urban gardening, Herligheten, by the waterfront in Oslo. One of the properties in her project is that it reclaims spaces to the citizens and to some extent contests the developers. In this sense, collaborative processes tend to be revealing and discovering, not designing and selling place identities, but rather celebrating complexity and layering. This way of thinking and acting is a driving force for cultural transformation as argued by Franco Bianchini. Within this context, Peter Bishop introduced the notion of the temporariness of the city. Temporary urbanism has a
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long history and draws upon a range of pop-up examples from London and New York, where the same space is changing purposes. “Why do planners appear to be focused on permanence rather than liquid modernity?”, Bishop asks. Since the nomads and settlers, space has always been fluid. He points to a blurring of ownership and functions, and he asks developers and architects to focus on creating conditions instead of designing for structures, which is what this Lab is about. Stimulating for interim uses of places to create stages and platforms for temporary infrastructure is for Bishop pivotal for an open and vivid city and for the public realm. You do not finish when the design is finished. That’s where you begin, Bishop says. Ben Parry introduces the notion of Cultural Hijack. This is a good example of what Bishop, Bianchini and Skot-Hansen are arguing for. Cultural Hijack explores the unforeseen encounters with creative action in the sites and situations of the urban everyday to rethink our relationship with the urban environment. Cultural Hijack positions the artist as narrator to reveal the thinking behind interventions as well as the process of their creation and reception. They want to expose the ways in which the city becomes the playground, a stage and an instrument for unsanctioned artworks, informal creative practices, activist interventions and clearly political actions. Cultural Hijack aims to enrich the understanding of the creative process, highlighting artists’ development of new weapons in the arsenal of critical resistance, expanding and emancipating the spaces of artistic and cultural production. The interventionist becomes a catalyst for a user-generated city whose tactical procedures are reinventing the way art is encountered and experienced to generate individual and collective empowerment within the city. Nordic temporary artistic interventions From Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, some 30 speakers talked from a variety of perspectives depending on climate, weather and geography. A number of architects representing rather different positions were invited. Some talked from a more classical architectural point of view like Jens Kvorning, whose point of departure was a Bianchini quote: “Cultural resources are the raw material of the city and
are its value base. Its assets are replacing coal, iron and gold. Creativity is the method of exploiting these resources and helping them grow. How and what can we add to what is already there in the former industrial areas? Can we use recycled material as part of public space that echoes the former industrial site and thus focusing on a more sustainable city through pointing both to the past as well as a future in the former industrial areas”.
The architect Gitte Juul has a rather different perspective. She looks at public spaces as zones of conflicting interests with lots of boundaries and limitations. “I work face to face in between architecture and everyday life, and it’s not easy to sell disruptive solutions to clients. I try to challenge these boundaries and unfold them through interventions in 1:1”. By blurring these
boundaries, one might be able to inform planners and thus try to expose what is going on in terms of who is included and who is not, and who is controlled and who is the controller, so to speak. Bureau Detours is challenging the way cities are reasoning with a slogan: push the system. They have the same wish to reveal boundaries as Gitte Juul but a different method.
“Through various projects, we playfully try to change the rules to make better cities. We work with Dennis Design Center and we work with local problems to try to make local solutions in 1:1. At the Milan Furniture Fair, we pointed out that there was nowhere to sit. We offered the Dennis Design Center and made 3 types of furniture that were a gift to the city, and the small benches we made created more life in the streets. And interestingly enough the street cleaners did not tidy them up”. This is a serious and
an entertaining method that concretely shows how a creative approach can capture the public realm.
As already mentioned, Anne Beate Hovind gave an extraordinary example of how to involve citizens in reimagining the city. In the centre of downtown Oslo, one hundred allotments of 5 m2 were offered free of charge at Herligheten – between highways and rail tracks. Herligheten is a temporary low budget project for 3 seasons. The project is pointing at how public art may be a driver for change along the waterfront in Oslo, but it’s also an example of re-claiming the city. We need art – not private art in the public spaces, as Hovind pointed out.
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Dagur Eggertsson runs an architect studio working with art - rather unusual for architects. “To me it does not make sense to make a distinction between art and architecture”. The city of Skien wanted a green access between two of the main parks in the city. Instead of making a plan, which could be implemented in a couple of years, Dagur implemented a process through planting seeds and thus slowly transforming the area. This approach is pointing at an interesting method for new practices in planning in public spaces, where the slow transformation is paramount. Erlend Blakstad Haffner from Studio Fantastic Norway is working with Utøya. This project is entirely different and is about re-creating a space where a tragedy has taken place. Utøya is the island where 69 young people were shot dead during the disaster on 22 July 2011. The question Haffner is raising is how Utøya can be reprocessed as the traditional summer-camp for the youth organisation within the Norwegian Labor party. One small white building by the tiny harbour, with Utøya written on the façade, was turned into something almost threatening. “We need to work with the silhouette and image of the island”. It’s a matter of turning the transformation into a positive force to balance the various stories and avoid the total gentrification. Volunteers are collectively making most of the work being done at Utøya, which is a process that helps creating new narratives on and about Utøya. Closing comments What characterised this Lab? The overarching question at the Lab was: how can citizens reclaim the city and in particular the public space? To this question we have had a number of different answers in terms of invigorating projects and speakers but also the notions and concepts from the programme such as pop-up architecture, social sculpture, site-specific performance, temporary urbanism, performative city, experience city, sound walks and soundscapes, cultural acupuncture, the city as a stage and the stage as the city, community creativity, explorative exhibitions, outreach and audience development are all over the place. “I see these words not just as nouns but also as catalyzers for thinking and acting”, Trevor Davies pointed out.
What intrigued me was the variety and creativity of projects going on in the Nordic countries. It is not possible to conclude, and this is not the idea either. The Lab has been shedding light on the complexity of questions but also the number of possibilities showing the diversity in perspectives and approaches from Reykjavik to Copenhagen. To me this was like an injection of energy and as such an inspiring event showing that artists, architects and planners sometimes make it possible to break down walls and enter into new territories of thinking. Nevertheless I do find some essential concepts and encroachments, which need to be highlighted to advance a collaborative planning of our cities. These are: The temporary City According to Peter Bishop, temporary projects are vital for creativity in the city. They challenge us and let us reimagine, as Bishop stated. The notion of temporariness is a very clear concept that engages artists, architects and developers. This concept has been an inspirational focus in a number of discussions. More temporariness as a way of life but also as an approach for creating new communities that include the notion of cultural democracy. The Performative City Many projects had focus on a more performative city, which is a city that makes room for the unexpected, as Dorte SkotHansen argued. How can planning processes incorporate and link to independent actions and initiatives? A number of the projects did give some answers to this, for example Bureau Detours, Herligheten, Gitte Juul, Cultural Hijack, the Finnish pop kitchen and many more. Policy Making and Education City development has a horizon of about 100 years. How do temporary projects influence the decision makers? How can this be translated into long-term thinking and doing? A number of speakers referred to lack of education as a burning issue. We need more and different educational programmes where students learn to navigate between art, commerce, planning and democracy. Dorte Skot-Hansen talked about the cultural planner as a new figure in the policy-making, and also within this more education is needed.
METROPOLIS LABORATORY 2014 Programme
Metropolis Laboratory 2014 Keynote speakers Cultural Planning – an overview of the approach, the context and the relevance Jens Kvorning (DK), Professor, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation Practicing cultural mapping and planning: An overview of the challenges and the benefits Lia Ghilardi (UK), Managing director, Noema Culture & Place Mapping Noema is a UK-based organization working internationally in the field of cultural planning and urban development. The presentation dealt with the concept of cultural planning and looked at aspects of this method that are still relevant today. The second part of the presentation dealt with the issues raised by the implementation of mapping processes (e.g. stakeholders’ participation, political cycles, mechanisms of governance) and finally introduced some case studies of successful cultural plans. The performative city – between cultural policy and cultural planning
Dorte Skot-Hansen (DK), Head of Centre, Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, University of Copenhagen Cultural Policy Studies is a research centre aiming at studies within the fields of cultural policy, cultural planning, cultural institutions and the relations between users and cultural activities. At the moment cultural policy and cultural planning are two different and in some aspects conflicting approaches towards the establishment of the ‘performative city’. Can these two approaches be reconciled in strategies for the re-imagining of public space and re-thinking the relations between performance/audience and space? Focus on European sitespecific performance, artistic interventions and community based artistic projects Pierre Sauvageot (FR), Composer and director, Lieux Publics, French national centre for arts/creation in public space and chair of In Situ, European network for artistic creation in public space As a national creation centre, Lieux publics accompanies artists from every discipline that make the city the location, the object and the subject of their productions. Lieux publics is a laboratory for works intended for public space which has developed several instruments aimed at supporting the creation process from the initial writing phase to dissemination. Cultures of Planning Simone Abram (UK), Reader, Durham University (Anthropology) and Leeds Metropolitan University (Tourism)
Is it time to abandon the notion of Culture? Looking carefully at how we use the idea of Culture and Cultures, and tracing some of the associated traditions, this short presentation argues that culture is a dead end. What arts and culture contribute to cities and engage in the planning methods – our experience in Malmö Christer Larsson (SE), Director of City Planning, Malmö City Planning Office Christer Larsson is, amongst many different city projects, responsible for development of the new master plan for Malmö and for the strategic development planning of Malmö city, including the recent years of developing the Western Harbour site and the urban reconfiguration of Malmö. New Forms of Shaping Public Spaces Henrik Orrje (SE), Head of Administration, Public Art Agency Sweden Public Art Agency Sweden explores and develops the interaction between contemporary art and public spaces. About a recent Swedish project where artists, designers, antiquarians and architects have cooperated with among others town planners and engineers to develop new ideas and solutions for school environments, travel centres, communities, urban spaces, hospitals and park areas. Citizen involvement in urban planning Gro Sandkjær Hanssen (NO),
Researcher, Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR) is an independent social science research institution. The core competence lies in place and governance studies, nationally and internationally and in selected policy areas (urban planning, health promotion, regional development). The talk presented recent work on how citizens are involved in urban planning, their influence, and the challenges of achieving broad and involving planning processes in marketoriented urban planning.
Franco Bianchini (UK), Professor of Cultural Policy and Planning, School of Cultural Studies and Humanities, Faculty of Arts, Environment and Technology, Leeds Metropolitan University From 1992-2007, Franco Bianchini was Reader in Cultural Planning and Policy and Course Leader for the MA in European Cultural Planning at De Montfort University, Leicester. He has acted as advisor and researcher on cultural planning strategies and projects in various European countries, on behalf of organisations including Arts Council England, the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the European Task force on Culture and Development. He has lectured on urban and regional cultural policy and planning issues - including on questions of economic and social impact assessment - in countries including Ireland, the UK, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Russia, Poland, Spain, Greece and Italy. He was chosen
by the European Parliament to serve on the international panel of experts responsible for recommending the city to be selected as European Capital of Culture for 2005. Embedding temporary urbanism into urban projects and strategies Peter Bishop (UK), Professor of Urban Design, Bartlett School of Architecture, London Professor of Urban Design and Director at Allies and Morrison architects. Previous Director of Design for London and Deputy CEO of the London Development Agency and advisor to the mayor of London. Author of a book on temporary urban interventions â€œThe Temporary Cityâ€?. An exploration of current and emerging practice in the UK and Europe and a consideration as to how this fits into theories of urban renewal.
Metropolis Laboratory 2014 Breakout sessions LANDSCAPES OF CHANGE – rural, urban and local environments in which art and performance explore the perception of re-defining the place and creating new identities. Terschelling’s Oerol Festival Kees Lesuis (NL) Terschelling’s Oerol Festival is an annual site-specific theatre festival held on the Dutch island Terschelling in June. Sitespecific theatre, theatre in barns, sheds and on the streets, modern dance, opera, visual art, music and the various crossovers are the ingredients of a festival that use the whole island as its stage. Over the past 30 years, the festival has grown from a small-scale street festival into an internationally valued, multi-disciplinary festival. UZ Arts, Glasgow Neil Butler (UK) UZ is an independent arts company that develops and produces strategic cultural events and commissions and presents artists and companies working in all media and art forms. It was formed in 1994 to create major festivals and events for Scotland. Lieux Publics, Marseille Pierre Sauvageot (FR) Consorzio La Venaria Reale, Italy Mirco Repetto and Fabrizio Nocera (IT) Declared World Heritage by UNESCO, the castle and gardens of the Reggia di Venaria Reale is an extraordinary and fascination place where you can admire the architectural heritage of the seventeenth century alongside the masterpieces of the great
architect Juvarra. The baroque gardens have become the perfect setting to host site-specific performances, theatre, music and dance.
PUBLIC SPACE AS A DEMOCRATIC SPACE – the manifestations of art in public spaces and the possibility to increase the re-appropriation of these places. Artopolis Association, Budapest Fanni Nanay (HU) Artopolis Association was created in 2008 with the mission of focusing on site-specific performance and art in public space. The association’s main activity is organising the annual festival PLACCC that presents an international and local selection of site-specific art forms. Artopolis Association organised the first edition of PLACCC Festival in October 2008 with the support of the Budapest Autumn Festival. Čtyri dny, Prague Markéta Černá (CZ) Since 1996, the non-profit association Čtyři dny/ Four Days has organized the international theatre festival 4+4 Days in Motion (4+4 dny v pohybu) and has arranged a number of unique international projects and cultural exchanges. Four Days has organised several international theatre festivals, workshops, international site-specific projects and coproductions with other European organisations. K13 Zuzana Pacáková (SK) The festival Use the City invites the citizens of Košice to take an active part in the development of the transformation of the city. The aim of the festival is the revitalisation of the city, primarily its non-central areas and to facilitate a dialogue between street artists and the public. A number of artists, art groups and citizen initiatives are actively involved in the production of street art in Košice and the surrounding region. ODA Teatri, Kosovo Valon Ibraj (XK) ODA is an independent organisation committed to
professional development of theatre, encouraging interrelations with other art forms. ODA is determined to play a role in strengthening the cultural sector and have influence in the building of a democratic and open Kosovo. Studio-Nomad, Budapest Bence Pásztor (HU), Check-point The installation is a system of gates that can be rearranged to form different paths in urban areas. The road leads through these gates; the route is established by a signalling system. When one passes through a gate, the direction to be followed is shown by the flashing lights on the next one. The lights encourage pedestrians to alter their routine paths and discover new directions. Studio Nomad was founded by the architects Bence Pásztor, Dávid Tarcali and Soma Pongor. They often participate in promising, innovative design projects that aim to revitalize the Hungarian scene. Their projects often involve a number of collaborators, both in large-scale works as well as smaller pieces. 282
PUBLIC SPACE AND ENGAGING WITH THE CITY AND WITH CITIZENS – looking at examples of innovative projects, which interact with the city and challenge the role of the participants and the creators. La Strada, Graz Werner Schrempf (AT) International festival of street art, puppet theatre and contemporary circus in Graz. The Strada festival, which was initiated in 1998, is an annual event, which takes place at the beginning of August. The venues are the streets, squares and courtyards of the city, but also include theatre spaces such as the Graz Opera, a youth theatre and the MUMUTH. Theater op de Markt, Neerpelt Hugo Bergs (BE) Theater op de Markt consists of a summer festival for openair theatre during even years and an autumn festival for circus theatre in odd years. The summer festival has the city of Hasselt as its niche; the autumn festival takes place in the domains of Dommelhof, Neerpelt. Theater op de Markt opts
for an alternative format so as to be able to offer a high-quality programme each year. La Paperie, Centre National des Arts de la Rue Eric Aubry (FR) La Paperie is a national centre for street arts and art in public spaces. This assumption positions itself in the spheres of both production and dissemination for which they prefer the term infusion. As the journey is more important than the destination, the question more important than the answer, they are focusing on contextualisation, collaborations with the public, using culture as a meeting platform for debates and intimate projects rather than spectacular. Performing Arts Østfold, Fredrikstad James Moore (NO) Performing Arts Østfold (Scenkunst Østfold) is a regional institution that has recently grown like a phoenix from the ashes of the former Østfold Teater. Based in south eastern Norway, Performing Arts Østfold produces, coproduces and presents a broad spectrum of regional, national and international performing artist within a wide variety of contexts. TAAT, Theatre as architecture and architecture as theatre. Breg Horemans and Gert-Jan Stam (BE), Performativity of space In a world that is becoming increasingly virtual, TAAT wants to take a stand for the tactile and sensory reality and the physical experience of the here and now. With the audience doing the piece themselves, TAAT focuses on the ritual function of theatre, which is aimed at transformation and raising awareness. TAAT operates on the cutting edge of theatre, architecture, visual arts and design, constantly looking for the ‘narrative potential’ of space. Their ideas and concepts explore performance and space in order to develop what they call an ‘architectural dramaturgy’.
TEMPORARY PRACTICE Bureau Detours (DK) Artist/urbanist collective based in Aarhus working with participatory urban practice
The Caravan method - The secret stories Marcelo Lerer (DK) The Secret Company has since 2007 specialised in collecting stories in caravans. The experiences show that a caravan provides the optimal setting for meetings between people and is therefore ideal as a democratic tool for use with direct citizen involvement. It was possible to visit the caravan during Metropolis Laboratory. The Secret Company is an art and communication organisation. They collect stories as art projects, user driven innovation, educational projects and citizen involvement and publish books, brands, websites, magazines, secret tours and events.
DECODING THE URBAN LANDSCAPE Wandering in weód and other dilemmas - a walk and a talk on Refshaleøen Annette Skov (DK) Annette is a visual artist and writer working with books, video, photography, sound, performative walks, secret tours and kind interventions in cities and landscapes. The walk and talk visited different spots on Refshaleøen. It dealt with the dilemmas of temporary life on the edge of the capital and introduced to Annette’s laboratory landscape, which is the backdrop on every tourist photo of The Little Mermaid. An Enemy of Architecture Asbjørn Skou (DK) Asbjørn Skou is a visual artist based in Copenhagen. He works with a wide range of media to create artworks, which serve as a form of spatial research and communication. Asbjørn presented an idea and method for engaging artistically with vague terrains, junk spaces and SLOAPs. The presentation focused on the potentially radical openness found in overlooked or ‘void’ space in the urban structures, and how these temporary gaps in the city can act as a counter point to the hegemony of planning, seen in relation to their spatial, temporal and metaphysical properties.
PUBLIC SPACE AS A DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY Helle Juul / Juul|Frost Architects (DK)
Juul|Frost Architects is an innovative and internationally orientated practice with expertise in urban, built and landscape architecture. The rise of creative cities, experience economy and the knowledge society has resulted in new conditions for urban development. Today, ideas about creativity, diversity and the lived life are at the front of the cities’ efforts to attract citizens, labour and attention. The development of urban space is in constant interplay with the diversity of tendencies, flows and relations that create spaces. A new working culture, new ways to participate in informal, temporary communities of interest, fluid borders between public and private are some of the conditions that urban planners must acknowledge. Changes permeate our daily lives, and demands on development and adaptability are larger than ever. The overall challenge is about hybrid theses, hybrid spaces - hybridity as a strategic tool.
URBAN CULTURE AND MAPPING CiTyBee and Urban Evolution Jens Brandt (DK) Urbanist with a long-term experience of working with communities and spatial mappings as a case study on methods and practice. The presentation focused on a newly developed method for ‘Urban Evolution’ that goes through 3 phases - from mapping local stories over “dialogical spaces” to “urban offshoots”. The presentation was using examples from the practice of both CiTyBee and Supertanker. Practicing Cultural Mapping and Planning. An Overview of the Challenges and the Benefits of this Approach Lia Ghilardi / Noema Culture & Place Mapping (UK) The park play project Kerstin Bergendal (DK) Kerstin Bergendal is a visual artist and curator based in Copenhagen. A four-year long artistic intervention in a large urban development programme in two urban areas in Sundbyberg, located just outside of Stockholm. The project has gradually grown into a local public multi-layered replanning of the areas with more than 250 participants. The municipality has actively entered into the dialogue, and the
results will be implemented.
PRACTICE OF CULTURAL PLANNING IN NORDIC MUNICIPALITIES Nearby – yet far away Britt-Inger Lindqvist (SE), Cultural planner & Fredrik Hjelm (SE), City planner, Borås Municipality Norrby is a socially and physically isolated district nearby the city centre of Borås with a multi-cultural population. In 2011, the Municipal Board of Culture initiated a cultural planningprocess to find out if and how cultural investments can serve as a tool for integration and social development.
THE PERFORMATIVE CITY – THE KEY ROLE OF THE PUBLIC SPACE, WHERE FUNCTION, FICTION AND FRICTION MEET DIY activism between play and politics Louise Fabian (DK), Lecturer at Aarhus University The presentation explored how bottom-up initiated micro-spatial urban practices contribute to reshape and negotiate urban spaces. It was shown how DIY urbanism might strengthen citizens’ possibility of participation in and production of space, and how DIY activism is involved in struggles over ‘the right to the city’.
Maunu Häyrynen (FI), Professor, Degree Programme Cultural Production and Landscape Studies, University of Turku The degree programme provides innovative and practical teaching compared to traditional teaching at universities, because the curricula include both scientific education as well as practice-oriented and applicable skills. The studies consist of both traditional exams and production of material such as brochures, exhibitions, videos, web pages or landscape inventories.
The courtyards of Telemark - points of urban acupuncture Laurie Smith Vestøl (NO), City planner The small size of the 40 courtyards in Skien’s old city and the role of local artists in reinterpreting spaces have generated a series of poetic outdoor exhibitions. Each bottom-up transformation becomes an important piece in a larger picture - a mosaic. Culture as a connecting force in city development and Skien as a city for artists is becoming a fact. Skien is now focusing on topics such as: play, outdoor art, niche stores, new cultural institutions and festivals. The municipal planning section is now reorganised with the cultural department.
1000 Square / Dream Hamar - cultural planning project in the city square of Hamar Kari Nilssen (NO), Urban director, Hamar Municipality Hamar is a town of 30.000 inhabitants on the edge of lake Mjøsa in southern Norway. Kari presented the Dream Hamar project - a huge participation event where the inhabitants were invited to a great network design process about creating a new city square.
Cultural Hijack: Rethinking Intervention Ben Parry / Jump Ship Rat (UK), Artist At the nexus of art, urbanism and social change is a rethinking of cities from the bottom-up, part of a do-it-yourself approach that links the practice of the self-directed artist to citizen-led transformations of everyday life. Cultural Hijack explores the role of radical and critical cultural practices in establishing an alternative discourse of the city.
Pamela Brunila (FI), Cultural producer & Anne Laitinen (FI), Cultural manager, Sibbo Municipality Sibbo, located right next to the capital region, offers beautiful nature and diverse recreational opportunities. You can roam the marked trails of the hardwood forests, cycle on the dense local road network, or enjoy the traditional rural landscape as you go paddling along the Sipoo River - all just half an hour drive from Helsinki.
INDEPENDENT INITIATIVES AND MOVEMENTS IN CITIES – PARALLEL, INDEPENDENT, ALTERNATIVE, INTEGRATED Action Space for Experiments and Innovation - Planning the Unplanned Mathias Holmberg (SE), Cultural strategist Art and culture can provide tools for citizen innovation and
participatory processes in urban development. Cultural planning can integrate the cultural resources of a city in the urban development. But the needs of the innovators are sometimes less plans and more freedom and “action space” to do their thing. How to create cultural communities and the complexity of organising cultural activities outside the institutional framework Jesper Koefoed-Melson / Givrum.nu (DK), Cultural developer Givrum.nu is an organisation working to make cities more democratic, engaging more people in the urban development. By creating the framework for people to do their own projects in empty buildings and public spaces, Givrum.nu has set new standards for citizen involvement. Jesper exemplified how to create network between cities and learn from each other with City Link - a cultural exchange programme between Copenhagen and Hamburg, which is about to be a user generated European network. Material dance - spaces for dissents Eystein Talleraas & Håvard Arnhoff / Fellesskapsprosjektet å fortette byen (NO), on alternative urbanism and participation in Oslo The collective project: For a denser concentration of the city (Felleskapsprosjektet å Fortette Byen) is a group of young architects based in Oslo and Tromsø, Norway. The group is an idealistic think-tank governed and established by the three architects Joar Nango, Eystein Talleraas and Håvard Arnhoff. The group’s intention is to be an independent and non-capitalistic platform for self-education and creative research in the field of architecture. The main starting point for all projects is research on and interventions in a specific public context/site. The initiative can be seen as an ongoing investigation of the common citizen’s freedom to express himor herself within the Scandinavian model of ‘right behaviour’ and the law and order regulations executed by the nationstate, and it exposes the boundaries between private property control and the true nature of the common property rights. As methods they work with 1:1 spatial installations and self-built temporary architecture.
Artistic intervention in the arctic Lene Ødegård Olsen / Pikene på Broen (NO), Project manager Pikene på Broen, established in 1996, is a company of curators and producers based in Kirkenes in the north-eastern part of Norway, close to the borders of Russia and Finland. Pikene på Broen creates meeting places and builds bridges across national borders and art genres.
Metropolis Laboratory 2014 Panel speakers NORDIC PERSPECTIVE ON CULTURAL PLANNING AND PLACE MAKING Christina Hjorth / Cultural Planning Laboratory (SE), Consultant & project leader Matti Lucie Arentz (NO), Artist, advisor, curator & independent urban practitioner Anne Laitinen / Sibbo Municipality (FI), Cultural manager Christian Pagh / UiWE (DK), Culture designer & CEO
Anne Beate Hovind (NO), Project Manager, Bjørvika Public Art Programme. “How public art investment can drive change and ensure cohesion along the Oslo waterfront” Ólöf Örvarsdóttir (IS), Architect and director, Department of Environment and City Planning, Reykjavik, reflects on how to generate a sense of urbanness in an isolated an exposed city. Dagur Eggertsson / Rintala Eggertsson Architects (NO), Architect, “Temporality in urban space” Bettina Lamm (DK), Landscape architect and associated professor, “Between landscape and body – site specific art as agent of exploration and transformation”
PRACTICES BETWEEN ART, ARCHITECTURE AND PERFORMANCE
ARTISTIC AND ARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE IN CULTURAL PLANNING AND PLACE-MAKING
Hella Hernberg / Urban Dream Management (FI), Architect and designer, “Everyman’s City –Tools for engaging people in urban change and development”
Gitte Juul / Gitte Juul Architects (DK), Architect working between architecture and art with her ‘Out of Architecture’ methodology Siri Frech / Urban Catalyst Studio (DE), Landscape architect, ‘Strategies of creative uses’
Erlend Blakstad Haffner (NO), Architect, Fantastic Norway, pop-up drawing office on wheels, alternative and humanistic approach on “moving offices, moving communities and moving towns”
CREATING AND CURATING TEMPORARY URBAN ENVIRONMENTS AS PERFORMATIVE AND INCLUSIVE ACTIONS Jes Vagnby (DK), Architect and associate professor, “DemokraCity™”- a concept created for urban development in terms of collaborating with the citizens Stefan Kaegi / Rimini Protokoll (DE), Theatre director ‘Staging the city’ Elle-Mie Ejdrup Hansen (DK), Artist, creating radical large scale social sculptures
CULTURAL APPROACHES TO PROCESSES OF URBAN CHANGE
Bureau Detours (DK), Artist/architecture collective based in Aarhus, daring to play with the city, challenging roles, reason and rationale. Structures and practicing engagement rather than preaching. Arna Mathiesen / April Arkitekter (NO), Architect, “What can the artists teach the public about architecture and the urban condition?”
Metropolis Laboratory 2014 Site visits NØRREBRO – democratic development methods Superkilen, a public park in Copenhagen running through a multi-cultural area in Nørrebro, celebrating diversity and user-driven involvement. Introduction to the overall aim of Superkilen by Peter Christensen (DK), former head of the local area development, Mimersgadekvarterets Områdeløft, and local citizen Troels Glismann (DK), actively involved with the development of the area. Maria Beyer Skydt and Nanna Gyldholm Møller / BIG (DK) took us for a walk along Superkilen showing examples of user-driven involvement, both in terms of the process and the final result. ØRESTAD & NORDHAVN How does one create a community and not just build infrastructure and high-rise iconic architecture? We visited two examples. Experience Ørestad (DK) guided us through the postmodern city Ørestad, which everyone either loves or hates. From there we moved on to the headquarter of By & Havn (DK), who told us about the vision for Nordhavn together with architect Rune Boserup (DK) from COBE architects who have created the master-plan for the area. PUBLIC SQUARES COPENHAGEN A presentation by Camilla van Deurs (DK), architect and partner at Gehl Architects, and Tina Saaby (DK), City architect in Copenhagen, on the role of public space as a key factor to generating identity, activity and engagement. Followed by visits on foot to interesting urban spaces in central Copenhagen – best practice examples and failed attempts. ROSKILDE – temporary city making Lise Hammershøj (DK) from Musicon Sekretariatet guided us through Musicon, a former concrete factory site now being developed into a vibrant city with culture, business,
events and housing by using a cultural planning philosophy. Curator and PhD Fellow Signe Brink Pedersen (DK) from Roskilde Festival and Aalborg University, and PhD Fellow Tina Vestermann Olsen (DK) from Aalborg University presented their research within “Creative Urban Processes – Temporary Art and Architecture as Driving Force”. KØGE – art as a tool for development Siv Raun Andersen (DK), Head of development, culture and community activities from Køge Kyst, presented the developing method for the area. Landscape architect Bettina Lamm (DK) guided us through the site-specific exhibition Urban Play in the area.
metropoli COOPERATZÌA: THE TRAIL ▪ REFSHALEØEN ▪ metropolis 2013
Metropolis Festival 2013 Station House Opera (London)
Dominoes Artistic director: Julian Maynard Smith Production manager: Dan Adams Production: Dan Adams, Marine Thévenet & Judith Knight, Artsadmin COOPERATION: H+H Danmark, Nikolaj Kunsthal, KFUK, Vor Frue Kirke, Klima, Energi- og Bygningsministeriet, Nationalmuseet, Vartov, Rådhuset, cphvolunteers, Vesterbro Frivilligcenter, SRBistand Frivilligcenter, Huset, DIS, KEA & 200 volunteers Venue: Route from Nikolaj Kunsthal to City Hall Square, 1 August
DEAFENING SILENCE Artistic direction: Barthélemy Bompard with the assistance of Nicolas Quilliard Created & performed by: Dominique Bettenfeld, Barthélemy Bompard, Jean‐Pierre Charron, Stéphane Civet, Céline Damiron, Marie‐Pascale Grenier, Dominique Moysan, Nicolas Quilliard & Judith Thiébaut. Venue: Bryggernes Plads, Carlsberg, 3 - 5 August
PLASTIQUE FANTASTIQUE (BERLIN)
AEROPOLIS Director: Marco Canevacci Architect: Pietro Balp Musician: Marco Barotti COOPERATION: 2200Kultur, Amfiteatret, BIBLIOTEKET Rentemestervej, Blågården, Kultur Valby, Kulturanstalten, KulturSkaberne, Kulturstationen Vanløse, Kvarterhuset Amagerbro & ZeBU PROGRAM 4. aug. Vesterbro Otto Krabbes Plads Bobspil 6. aug. Vesterbro Enghave Parken Koncerter 8. aug. Nørrebro Nørrebroparken Lys-&lydinstallation
10. aug. Nørrebro 12. aug. Nørrebro 16. aug. Vanløse 18. aug. Vanløse 20. aug. Amager 22. aug. Amager 24. aug. Nordvest 26. aug. Nordvest 28. aug. Valby 30. aug. Valby
Superkilen Kontaktsport Hans Tavsens Park Stjerner & rummet Adventskirken Lyd & stemme Damhussøen Yoga & meditation Islands Brygge Dans & performance Reberbanegade Fortællinger fra en bydel Lygten Silent disco Bellahøj Amfiteater Nordisk mytologi Kulbanevej Film & foto fra bydelen Smedestræde Litteratur
EMPTY STEPS Idea, artistic direction & choreography: Camila Sarrazin Performers: Lars Gregersen & Camila Sarrazin Venue: Under Langebro by Islands Brygge, 5-7 August
RIMINI PROTOKOLL (BERLIN)
100% KØBENHAVN With 100 Copenhageners: Amalie Middelboe, Amanda Møller Lützhøft, Anders Olrik, Anders Wolfsberg, Andreas Weidinger, Ane Marie Bolvig, Anna Maria Hammerbak, Ann-Lisette Olsen, Ariana-Emanuela Mrarasu, Arthur Braae Mathew, Azita Sofie Tadayoni, Benazir Braae, Bo Hagen Clausen, Bo Jacoby, Caroline Jacobsen, Chabaphrai Kanchuang, Chonthicha Kanchuang, Christian Skaurup Jensen, Christina Rath, Christopher Storgaard-Larsen, Claus Frandsen, Claus Hasling Pedersen, Diar Ali Abdul Wahid Mohammad, Dorthe Eren, Ellen Widding, Emanuel Kjærsgaard Brandes, Emil Mpho Jütte, Erik Pold, Eva Rolnæs, Evy Carstens, Finn Ankerstjerne, Frederik Treschow Iuel, Frej Elvekjær Klæbel, Garfur Zumbere, Gert Poder, Giorgio Stillitano, Gunhild Legaard, Guri Damgaard Sommerlund, Helene Marie Hassager, Henrik Grimbäck, Hikmat Hussein, Hocine Slimani, Husam Al Nouri, Ingrid Prytz, Jacob Vasco Iuel, Jan Due, Jan Villum Hansen, Jane Hartvig, Jesper Bay Eriksen, Johanne Helene Hav Hermansen, Johannes Panduro Kristensen, Julia Schmidt, Kaj Jessen, Kamma Johanne Iuel, Karl Alex Lundberg, Karsten Nielsen, Kasper Lee Jensen, Kenya Naomi Collins, Khaya Christina Mpsosula Jütte, Kipanga Typeson,Liv Vesterskov, Lóa Stefansdottir, Lotte Midtgaard, Louise Lind,
Magnus Saabye Bøgelund, Magnus Thomsen, Maja Petrea Fox, Majya Kruse, Maria Harrestrup, Maria-Dorina Marasu, Marianne Lykkeberg, Marie-Louise Nielsen, Mark Winthrop, Mathilde Mortensen, Max Christian Hassager Gravgaard, Mehdi Tadayoni, Mia Kjærsgaard Larsen, Mic Collins, Mikaela Jane Pagador Hartvig, Mikkel Halbye Mindegaard, Mira Brandes, Mira Margaritha Cordsen, Mollie Fjeldsø Eggertsen, Natasja Dahl Brandi Hansen, Nelly Lützhøft Mindegaard, Nina Estrup Willumsen, Ninna Jespersen, Ole Axel Jensen, Ondine Desruelles, Pertunia Ntokazi Mposula Jütte, Richard Holby Lun, Richard Torres Mollerup Sørensen, Rikke Svendsen, Ron Kupers, Rune Kristoffer Drewsen, Solveig Lützhøft Mindegaard, Sophie Sales Carlsen, Steen Blendstrup, Thomas Bering, Tue Bonnén Riis, Villy Sørensen, Yildis Akdogan
Rimini Protokoll: Concept & directors: Daniel Wetzel, Helgard Haug & Stefan Kaegi Light- og sounddesign & technical director: Marc Jungreithmeier Live-band: Girls in Airports Københavns Internationale Teater: Project coordinator: Maja Nydal Eriksen Technical director: Nils Engelbrecht Research: Sofie Henningsen & Trine Søgaard Parmo Krog Translation: Birgitte Curry The Royal Danish Theatre: Director of guest performances: Annette Berner Coordinator of guest performances: Karsten Kruse Pudselykke Stage manager: Rasmus Clausen Light: Michael Franch Sound: Karsten Wolstad, Claus Dohn & Jonas Jensen Stage technicians: crew B The Danish National School of Performing Arts: Production dramaturge: Miriam Frandsen Assistant directors: Henrik Grimbäck & Viktor Tjerneld Sound assistants: Inuk Thomsen & Magnus Hansen Assistant stage manager: Anna Dyrby Venue: Skuespilhuset, The Royal Theatre, 8-10 August
KARL VAN WELDEN (GHENT)
SATURN II Concept, direction, sound: Karl Van Welden Dramaturgy: Bart Capelle Performers: Stefaan Claeys, Sarah Eisa, Carl Vermeersch, Siet Raeymaekers, Kevin Trappeniers, Fran Verstegen Technical coordination & construction: Vincent Malstaf Assistance & photography: Maarten De Vrieze COOPERATION Carlsberg Byen, Arbejdernes Landsbank, Arbejdstilsynet, Frederiksberg Rådhus, Københavns Ejendomme, Københavns Politi, Københavns Rådhus, Visit Carlsberg Venue: Maskincentralen, Pasteursvej 5, Carlsberg, 11-14 August
C.A.P.E. Artistic director & creator of C.a.p.e. Brussels & C.a.p.e. Tohoku: Eric Joris Artistic assistance & creator C.a.p.e. KIT: Chantalla Pleiter Venue: Nørrebrohallen, 17-20 August
JUDITH HOFLAND (AMSTERDAM)
LIKE ME Concept & artistic direction: Judith Hofland Venue: Outer Nørrebro, 16-18 August
LE G. BISTAKI (TOULOUSE)
COOPERATZÌA: THE TRAIL With & by: François Juliot, Jive Faury, Sylvain Cousin, Nicanor de Elia, Florent Bergal FIGURINES Grazia Weiss Levi, Carmel Ennis, Kirstine Marie Fabricius, Frej Elvekjær Klæbel, Sophie Bajeux, Lisa Jones, Nina Cholet, Irene Hougaard, Aida Redza, Julia Christina Schmidt, Michael Blach, Josefine Blach Venue: Busstop “Refshaleøen”, 16-18 August
INVISIBLE PLAYGROUND (BERLIN)
By & with: Jennifer Aksu, Viktor Bedö, Daniel Boy, Josa Gerhard, Anna Hentschel, Christiane Hütter & Sebastian Quack Venue: Warehouse9/Kødbyen, Copenhagen V, 22-25 August
NON NOVA (NANTES)
AFTERNOON OF A FOEHN Performed by Silvano Nogueira Artistic direction, choreography & scenography: Phia Ménard VORTEX Artistic direction, choreography & scenography: Phia Ménard Venue: Academy for Untamed Creativity (AFUK), 22-25 August
Metropolis 2013 is arranged by Copenhagen International Theatre with primary support from the Danish Arts Council and the Municipality of Copenhagen. A number of projects have received a production and mobility aid from the IN-SITU network under the META-project, supported by the European Commission. Individual projects are supported by Det Obelske Familiefond, Det Kongelige Teater, Goethe-Institut Dänemark, Indre By Lokaludvalg, Institut Français, La Mairie de Toulouse, Région MidiPyrénées, Région Rhône-Alpes, Terréal and the Flemish Authorities.
Metropolis Festival 2015 LE G. BISTAKI (TOULOUSE)
THE BAÏNA TRAMPA FRITZ FALLEN By & with Florent Bergal, Sylvain Cousin, Jive Faury, François Juliot Technical director Nina Pire Video Guillaume Bautista Venue: Nordhavn, 12-14 August
Dries Verhoeven (Berlin/Utrecht)
Ceci n’est pas… Concept Dries Verhoeven Company manager Ilon Lodewijks Technics Roel Evenhuis In collaboration with a large number of performers Venue: Gammeltorv, Kbh K, 12-21 August
12 performers & Kitt Johnson
12 By & with Annette Skov, Annika Kompart, Charlotte Østergaard, Emma-Cecilia Ajanki, Esmeralda Nikolajeff, Fabian Krestel, Florent Golfier, Guido Vaccarezza, Hugo Mega, Kitt Johnson, Manon Siv Duquesnay, Marek Menšík, Mette Overgård, Mira Leonard, Mogens Kjempff, Nahuel Desanto, Sture Ericson, Thomas Saulgrain Venue: Refshaleøen, 13 - 15 & 17 - 23 August
Karoline H. Larsen (Copenhagen)
Collective Strings Venue: Skt. Thomas Plads, 14-30 August
The Playground Concept & directed by Arnaud Pirault With Anthony Breurec, Elodie Colin, Raphaël Dupin, Pep Garrigues, Boris Hennion, Claire Picard, Myriam Pruvot, Hélène Rocheteau
Venue: Enghave Brygge, 14-16 August
Numen/For Use (Vienna)
Tape Copenhagen Venue: Nikolaj Kunsthal, Nikolaj Plads 10, Kbh K, 15-23 August
Phoenix Artistic director & performer Mette Aakjær by &with: Cindy Rudel, Carlos Calvo, Helga RosenfeldtOlsen, Helle Kvist, Ida Lundø Madsen, Mads Gundersen & Carl Jensen, Nína Hjálmarsdóttir, Nina Matthis, Rune Brink, Sara Vilardo, Sarah John, Sigrid Astrup, Sonja Winckelman Thomsen, Thoranna Bjornsdottir Venue: Teaterøen, 16-30 August
Julian Toldam Juhlin (Frederiksberg)
Drengen der aldrig flytter hjemmefra BY & WITH Julian Toldam Juhlin SOFTWARE Ole Christensen Venue: Frederiksberg Bredegade 7B, st.tv, Frederiksberg, 15, 16, 22 & 23 August
Fugit By & with Cristina Aguirre, Sergi Estebanell, Claudio Levati, Andrea Lorenzetti, Judit Ortiz, Lluís Petit, Edu Rodilla, Santi Rovira, Gary Shochat, Prisca Villa Artistic director Adrian Schvarzstein Venue: Kødbyen, Vesterbro, 16-18 August
Osynliga Teatern (Stockholm)
Engram Direction Tomas Rajnai, Jens Nielsen Venue: Vor Frue Kirke, 20, 21, 23, 27, 28 & 30 August
Radio Free Mermaid By and with P.O. Jørgens, Irene Becker, Aviaja Lumholt, Pierre Dørge, Per Buhl Acs, Tomomi Adachi, Olga Magieres, Henning Frimann, Nicolas Kauffmann and Jørgen Teller
Venue: Departure from Nordre Toldbod, 20-22 August
Emke Idema (Amsterdam)
Rule™ Concept, direction & host Emke Idema Venue: Kulturstyrelsens Foyer, 24-26 August
Seimi Nørregaard (Copenhagen)
ARBEJD ARBEJD Concept, author, choreographer, scenographer, costumes, light- and sounddesigner Seimi Nørregaard Venue: Carlsberg, 24-25 August
OperaNord (Copenhagen) & Sifenlv New Media Studio (Beijing)
Looking for Courage Created by Camilla Hübbe, Charlotte Munksø, Klejs&Rønsholdt, Lin Zhang, Jiangzhou Feng, Birk Marcus Hansen, Louise Beck Performers Loré Lixenberg, Liu Zheng, Wu Tingcui and Lucy Railton Venue: Metrostation DR Byen, 26-29 August
Fix & Foxy and Teatergrad (Copenhagen)
Et Dukkehjem Cast Pelle Nordhøj Kann, Rolf Hansen & Lise Lauenblad Direction Tue Biering & Jeppe Kristensen Venue: Private apartments, 27-29 August
Asphalt Piloten (Biel)
Tape Riot by & with: Anna Anderegg, Hervé Thiot, Marco Barotti, Moni Wespi, Christian Anderegg & Jan Mühlethaler Venue: Frederiksberg Metrostation, Empire Bio in Guldbergsgade, The Royal Library, Superkilen at Mimersgade, 28-29 August
Steen & Hejlesen with Den Sorte Skole (Copenhagen) I Demokratiets Navn Idea & video Steen Hejlesen & Ninna Steen
Music Den Sorte Skole with Martin Højland & Simon Dokkedal Performer Nana Francisca Schottländer Thanks to Københavns Domhus, Laboratoriescenen/ Dansehallerne, Ralf Richard Strøbeck, Niels Grønbæk, C.W. Obel Ejendomme A/S Venue: The Court House, Nytorv, 28 August
Asbjørn Skou (Copenhagen)
Kollapsografi Venue: Christians Brygge, 12-27 August
Metropolis 2015 is organised by Københavns Internationale Teater with primary support from the Danish Arts Foundation, the city of Copenhagen and with the following national and international support. Individual projects are supported by: Le G. Bistaki: Institut Français, In Situ/EU Culture Dries Verhoeven: Performing Arts Fund NL 12 performere & Kitt Johnson: Statens Kunstfond, Circus Work Ahead/EU Culture, In Situ/EU Culture, Wilhelm Hansen Fonden Numen/For Use: Nikolaj Kunsthal Groupenfonction: Institut Français, In Situ/EU Culture Karoline H. Larsen: Statens Kunstfond, Frederiksberg Kommune Asbjørn Skou: Statens Kunstfond Wunderland: Statens Kunstfond, Nordisk Kulturfond, Kulturkontakt Nord, Teaterøen Julian Toldam Juhlin: Statens Kunstfond, Frederiksberg Kommune Osynliga Teatern: The Swedish Arts Council, Nordisk Kulturfond, Kulturkontakt Nord, The Swedish Arts Grants Committee Skræp: Statens Kunstfond, SNYK Emke Idema: Performing Arts Fund NL Seimi Nørregaard: Statens Kunstfond OperaNord: Statens Kunstfond, Kulturministeriet, Nordeafonden, Statens Kunstråd, Den Danske Scenekunstskole, Amager Vest Lokaludvalg, S.C. Van Fonden, Scenografernes Ophavsretsforvaltning, KODA-Dramatik, Københavns Scenekunstudvalg, CPH Air, Forvaltningen af den Kollektive tredjedel af Båndkopimidler, Dansk Komponist Forenings Produktionspulje & KODA’s Kulturelle Midler, Music Confucius Institute, Grundejerforeningen Ørestad Universitetskvarter, Field’s Asphalt Piloten: In Situ/EU Culture Steen & Hejlesen: Statens Kunstfond, Gangstedfonden, Sonning-Fonden, Dansk Artist Forbund.
Phoenix ▪ REFSHALEØEN ▪ metropolis 2015
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DR Ultralyd Signa AirPlay Street Gallery Circo da Madrugada Ballet National de Marseille Stan’s Café Kumulus Art Zoyd Rimini Protokoll Groupe Dunes By Beijing Half Machine Ilotopie Jay Pather Erik Pold Ex Nihilo Signa Live Art Installations TeaterKUNST The Builders Association The Blast Theory Uysal & Dehmen Chilango Hawkers Enrique Vargas & Teatro de los Sentidos Mariano Pensotti Badco. Berlin - Moscow Gustavo Ciriaco & Andrea Sonnberger Public Eye: Collective Work Architects of Air Doung Jahangeer Hello!Earth Compagnie Dakar v. Lotte van den Berg Teatro Glimt Compagnie 9.81 Live Art Installations The Hill Frank Bölter Bureau Detours Dries Verhoeven Ici-Même
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Udtryk Cie Willi Dorner Helle Fuglsang Pierre Sauvageot / Lieux Publics & Cie Bruno Beltrão / Grupo de Rua Lydteatret Lydmur Wunderkammer Lola Arias Ant Hampton & Tim Etchells Circ’ombelico Giraff Graff & urban (col)laboratory Mariano Pensotti Danske Grafikere Station House Opera Kumulus Plastique Fantastique Glimt 100% København Karl Van Welden Le G. Bistaki Judith Hofland Crew Invisible Playground Non Nova Non Nova Le G. Bistaki Dries Verhoeven 12 performere i samarbejde med Kitt Johnson Groupenfonction Karoline H. Larsen Numen Wunderland Kamchàtka Julian Toldam Juhlin Osynliga Teatern Skræp Seimi Nørregaard OperaNord & Sifenlv New Media Studio Fix & Foxy og Teatergrad Asphalt Piloten Steen & Hejlesen med Den Sorte Skole Asbjørn Skou Drømmebyen i Nordhavn
Københavns Internationale Teater seeks to break the established formats of performing arts by presenting new genres and trends. We also connect the performing arts to the broader cultural and social context and have worked thematically with series of festivals and programmes over the past 35 years. Metropolis is our key focus point at present, and this project covers a decade – culminating in 2017. In all our projects we work to inspire, connect and challenge the general public, artists and our cultural environment. Københavns Internationale Teater was established in 1979 as a non-profit cultural organisation initiated by Trevor Davies and is now an independent organisation primarily funded by the Danish Arts Foundation Committee for Performing Arts Project Funding and the City of Copenhagen. 300
organisation Artistic direction: Katrien Verwilt and Trevor Davies Communication: Louise Kaare Jacobsen Production management: Nils Engelbrecht Administration: Birgitte Curry Core project, lab and festival staff: Marie Viltoft Polli, Elisavet Papageorgiou, Maja Nydal Eriksen, Elin Eyborg Lund, Katrine Holst-Jensen, Nina Cholet Technical crew: Mogens Kjempff, Dorte Wium Petersen, Sune Bang, Jens Thomsen, Peter “Kapabel” Lütgens, Sven Christoffersen, Micki Petersen, Boris Engelbrecht Sørensen and many more Board members Erik Agergaard (chair), Planning consultant Bjørn Lense-Møller, former Chairman of the Danish Theatre Council Dorte Skot-Hansen, Head of Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, Copenhagen Kathrine Winkelhorn, Coordinator of the Master Programme in Culture and Media Production, Malmö University Mette Høxbro, Head of Libraries, Vejle Peter Elsass, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Copenhagen Tina Saaby, City Architect
CHANGING METROPOLIS III
First edition 04-04-2016 Edited by Trevor Davies
Fred Kroh cover page Thomas Seest p. 6-7, 24-25, 28, 53, 93, 156-157, 164-165, 167168, 171, 172 (right), 180, 185, 197, 201, 227, 241, 248, 250, 254, 264 Maja Nydal Eriksen p. 10-11, 15, 16-17, 18-19, 20, 33, 40-41, 8889, 123, 127, 128-129, 132-133, 138-143, 145, 146, 149, 150, 160165, 179, 180-181, 188-189, 191, 192, 195, 197, 198, 205, 209, 210, 211, 213, 218-219, 220, 221, 232-233, 235, 237, 239, 240, 248-249, 288-289, 297 Bureau Detours p. 38-39, 84, 86-87 Peter Bishop p. 42, 45, 46 Carsten Snejbjerg p. 51 Jesper Koefoed -Melson p. 56, 59 Jean-Baptiste Béranger p. 63, 65 mjc p. 66 kristin von hirsch 68 Tuomas Sarparanta p.72 Johannes Romppanen p.77 Steen Stuhr p.79 (up), 82 Jan Rusz p.79 (down) Nicolas Whybrow p. 90, 95 Kris Darby p. 97 Melanie Border p. 101 Tatzu Nishi p. 102 ben parry p. 105 Asbjørn Skou p. 107, 111 Farokh Berenjgani p.113-114 Eystein Talleraas p. 117, 119 Christoffer Askman p. 130-131, 215, 216 Zimmerfrei p. 153, 154 Marco Canevacci p. 174 (left), 176, 177 Glimt p.207 Karoline H. Larsen p. 224, 225 Elisavet Papageorgiou p. 230, 250-251, 268, 270, 276 Trine Langkilde Hansen p. 231 Werner Schrempf p.246-247 MARIE VILTOFT POLLI P.272, 274
Published by: Københavns Internationale Teater Refshalevej 163A, 1 1432 København K +45 33151564 firstname.lastname@example.org www.kit.dk PRINT: DanGrafisk/Danny Lund Layout: Elisavet Papageorgiou Edition: 400 isbn: 978-87-994229-2-0 Metropolis is primarily funded by the Danish Arts Foundation Committee for Performing Arts Project Funding and the City of Copenhagen. ©Københavns Internationale Teater
changing metropolis iii